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Intel offers MacBook Air chip to other PC firms

MacBook Air
It's underpowered and expensive but that won't stop rivals trying to ape the MacBook Air

This week's Intel Developer Forum has certainly been jam-packed with innovative new technologies, but it's the widespread arrival of an existing one that could be felt soonest.

Intel mentioned in passing that its "second-generation dual-core mobile processors for ... ultra thin and light notebook PCs" are about to be made available to all comers.

In other words, any PC maker that wants to use the same shrunken chipset Apple crammed into the MacBook Air will be free to use the Merom processor as it see fits.

Apple to respond

The tiny chip is the major reason for the MacBook Air's slim chassis, so we can expect to see waif-like competitors from Taiwan lining up for a pop at the MBA before too long.

Naturally, Apple will respond with a revamped version of the Air, but what's the betting the next big battleground for PC builders will be over that chic envelope-stuffer territory?