Intel Corporation's top executives announced Tuesday that the company's upcoming 64-bit microprocessor powerhouse, code-named "Merced," was on track for a release in mid-2000. Merced has just passed a critical milestone in that its design has "taped-out," so that it is ready for the final pre-production stage before it is delivered to the public. Intel executives Andy Grove and Craig Barrett made the announcement at their keynote address of the CA-World conference in New Orleans.

"Our hope is that \[Merced\] is going to be the engine for customer-centric e-business," said Grove, alluding to Merced's prowess as at Web transactions. "The global impact \[of Merced on e-commerce\] is going to be hopefully something very, very similar to what microprocessors did to the computing industry.