When the Chips Are Down

IBM Puts Intel on the spot by refusing to ship any more PCs with flawed Pentium microprocessors

Word of the flaw in Intel's Pentium chip, the powerful new brain in 4 million personal computers sold this year, began circulating before Thanksgiving. But the manufacturing problem was nothing compared with the flaw in Intel's understanding of how to keep good customer relations. Having kept the defect secret for months, Intel blithely dismissed the criticism at first, maintaining that the imperfection in the Pentium would affect only highly complex calculations. Most folks, said Intel, would encounter an inaccurate answer just once in 27,000 years; therefore, the errant chips would be replaced only if computer owners could demonstrate that they really...

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