Baker says the imminent release of the AMD's much vaunted 600MHz Athlon processor (previously code-named K7) has forced Intel to produce a processor "virtually no better in terms of real performance than its 550MHz predecessor".
An Intel spokesperson dismissed the accusation: "It will be our fastest Pentium ever, and the step up in speed will be about the same as from 400MHz to 450MHz."
There have also been suggestions Intel will cut prices across its lower range processors following the release of the PIII 600MHz. Although AMD's chairman and CEO W.J. Sanders III recently complained that Intel's incessant price-cutting was 'squeezing the life' out of his company Baker says AMD will remain competitive no matter the cost: "We have to remain competitive with Intel and if they reduce prices we will follow suit."
Although the Athlon processor will be not be available until mid-August, Baker still claims it is a case of Intel following AMD's lead. "It wouldn't surprise me if they'd pipped us to the post on this one." he notes. "But we often do it to them so it's okay."
Intel had planned to release a processor code-named "Coppermine" as the first Pentium 600MHz. It is based on totally new technology and promises even greater speeds. Although originally scheduled for release around this time, production has been delayed and it will not be available until November.
On Monday, Intel will also unveil a Celeron 500MHz processor. The PIII will cost $669 (£407) and the Celeron $167.