Murder most foul: A game of ... processor architectures
AC says: Alpha had an idiot running the company in charge of chip (and most system) development, an idiot who mistakenly chose to trust Intel ("IA64 will be technically far superior to Alpha") and Microsoft ("yes we'll do NT/Alpha properly") rather than trust his own company's people.
Let's be precise here. This is a rich and deep history, filled with tragedy:
0) 1989: HP investigates VLIW instruction sets, called EPIC
1) February 25, 1992: Alpha architecture mentioned for the first time ; Alpha is on the front page of CACM february 1993 (test system pulled 1kW as I remember);
2) Serial Big Mistakes by DEC under Kenneth Olsen in marketing Alpha (and anything else) ;
3) DEC is increasingly going pear-shaped, sheds divisions ;
4) HP partners with Intel to build the IA-64 as it judges that proprietary microprocessors are not the future; goal is to deliver "Merced" by 1998 ;
5) May 18, 1998: After a hard patent battle with Intel, DEC agrees to support IA-64 architecture and Intel agrees to manufacture DEC's Alpha processors. Sour Alpha engineers leave for AMD and Sun. Intel has acquired StrongARM from DEC but those engineeres also leave ;
6) The rump of DEC gets acquired by Compaq, which has only modicum of interest in Alpha. They are into growing their PC market.
7) Compaq's PC shit deflates bigtime, leaving unsold inventory rotting at the docks, Eckhard Pfeiffer ousted. CEO Michael Capellas is uninterested in Alpha, stops development of NT on Alpha on August 23, 1999. Samsung and IBM sign Alpha manufacturing deals with Compaq.
8) March 2000: Easy-money fuelled dotcom bubble bursts, Greenspan unrepentant, gives a f*ck.
9) June 25, 2001: Compaq announces complete shift of their server solutions from Alpha to IA-64 architecture by 2004. The Alpha Microprocessor Division is disbanded and moved to Intel. Samsung and IBM stop producing Alphas. Andrew Orlowski had one or two good ones on Don Capellas' Alphacide back in the day.
10) June 2001: "Itanium" (i.e. Merced) released by Intel ; where are the compilers ?
11) September 3, 2001: Hewlett-Packard announces its intention to acquire Compaq (because HP's Carly Fiorina couldn't acquire PricewaterhouseCoopers for $18 billion USD, so this must be a displacement activity). A long battle to convince the HP shareholders that this is actually a good idea begins.
12) September 11, 2001: Bush is minding his own business cutting shrubberies in Crawford, Texas, when suddenly a great call for Glorious Presidency is heard across the soon-to-called-thus "Homeland". God bless!
13) October 21, 2001, API (the workstation manufacturer) throws in the towel on Alpha systems and transfers all rights to support Alpha systems (including warranty service) to Microway,
14) May 2002: Merger of HP and Compaq is given the go-ahead. Don Capellas becomes president of the post-merger HP, but soon moves on to the burning crater of MCI Worldcom (USD 11 billion of fraud, a record back then) on November 12. 2002, to lead its acquisition by Verizon.
15) In August 2004, the last Alpha processor was announced.