Digital continues to license the marketing rights to its Alpha chips and products--this time to South Korean manufacturer Samsung.
But it is unclear whether Samsung-built Alpha machines will help boost interest in Digital's microprocessor.
The agreement will see Samsung market, sell and distribute the 64-bit, RISC-based processors worldwide.
According to Graham Penn, manager of Auckland-based market analysts IDC, market acceptance has been a problem for the Alpha worldwide.
"While there is nothing wrong with it, most people view the Alpha as an internal Digital product, and it has been difficult for it to get beyond that," Penn says. "The volume of users in this country isn't huge, but I have found the people using Alpha are generally happy with what they have got."
The arrangement with Samsung, Digital's second licensing of Alpha, is supposed to help address that problem.
But a similar second-source agreement with Mitsubishi in Japan three years ago has so far failed to generate any kind of market interest.
The new agreement also gives Samsung the right to distribute Digital's FX!32 translation software.
FX!32, due for release later this year, allows Alpha users unobstructed access to 32-bit Windows x86 applications running under Windows NT.
Observers predict Samsung will use its AST connection to introduce a series of low-cost, Alpha-based PCs, workstations and servers designed to compete against Intel's Pentium Pro systems. Those products may be out by the middle of next year.