SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) _ In the latest misstep for the world's largest chip maker, Intel Corp. said a faster version of its flagship Pentium 4 microprocessor will not be available by the end of the year as previously promised.
The Santa Clara-based company told PC makers this week that the 4-gigahertz chip will not ship until the first quarter of 2005. Currently, the fastest model runs at 3.6 gigahertz.
``We felt by adjusting the schedule for the products, we could better meet our customers' volume requirements and their high expectations,'' said Intel spokeswoman Laura Anderson on Friday. She declined to elaborate on the reason for the delay.
It's been a rough year for Intel products even though profits nearly doubled in the second quarter and it's on track to set record sales in the current quarter.
Its current Pentium 4, unveiled in February, has been criticized for not raising the performance bar over previous processors.
In May, it canceled the next-generation Pentium 4 so that it could focus on more promising technologies. In June, a manufacturing glitch forced a small recall of chipsets, which handle communications between the processor and the rest of the system.
In July, it said design problems would delay the release of mobile computer chipset dubbed Alviso until next year. And it said better-than-expected performance in manufacturing of Pentium 4s resulted in an inventory buildup.
Last week, chief executive Craig Barrett sent a message to all employees urging them to ``focus intensely on actions and attitudes that will continue Intel's strong track record.''
Barrett also said he spoke ``bluntly and directly'' to senior managers about the problems.
``There are many reasons for these (product delays and manufacturing issues), but in the end the reasons don't matter because the result is less-satisfied customers and a less-successful Intel,'' he wrote. ``I believe, as you do, that this is not the Intel we all know and that it is not acceptable.''
Still, Intel's financial performance is strong. In the second quarter, profits nearly doubled to nearly $1.8 billion and sales rose to $8.05 billion. In the current quarter, Intel would set its all-time sales record if it meets the midpoint its revenue forecast.