Intel pushes back Celeron rollout

Intel having trouble manufacturing enough chips to keep pace with demand, has delayed introduction of several desktop Celeron chips by two months, sources said

Scheduled to be introduced next week, the Celerons will instead make a June debut in order to ensure wide retail availability, sources said.

The new Celerons, a 633MHz and 667MHz, will be announced at the same time as Intel's 700MHz Celeron, sources said. The anticipated launch date of the 700MHz has not changed.

With the change in plans, it appears that Intel learned something from its 800MHz Pentium III launch in December. Short supplies of the chip angered customers and PC makers alike.

Retailers generally stock products in advance of a given launch date to meet the demand that greets the arrival of a major new processor.

The Celeron rollback isn't entirely a surprise. Intel warned investors earlier this week that it would continue to see tight supply of processors built on its new 0.18-micron process technology. The company began using the new process on its 566MHz and 600MHz Celerons, which were introduced March 29.

Intel Executive Vice President Paul Otellini said at the time that supply tightness would continue throughout the next quarter. As a result, the company's stock price slipped. Intel had previously said it expected supplies to improve last January.

Launch dates of other processors, such as Intel's 700MHz mobile Pentium III and 550MHz mobile Celeron chips, which are also due next week, have not changed, sources said.

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