Bare Knuckles At Big Blue

For a time, it looked like the uproar over a technical flaw in Intel Corp.'s powerful Pentium chip would quietly fade away. But on Dec. 12, IBM dropped a bombshell: The computer giant announced it would stop all shipments of its top-of-the-line personal computers, charging that tests indicate Intel had seriously underrepresented the potential errors caused by the chip's flaw. The dramatic move--which sent Intel shares sliding 6.5%--pits the world's biggest computer maker against its most important supplier.

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