Intel’s Itanium chip is hanging by a thread, and after more than three years, the company is now shipping the next and possibly final version of the processor, which is code-named Kittson.

The chip is now shipping to test customers, and volume shipments will commence later this year, a company spokesman said.

Itanium chips have been used in mainframes and mission-critical servers. Hewlett Packard Enterprise will ship servers with Kittson later this year.

Itanium has been dying a slow and painful death, and Kittson will likely be the end of the line. Support for the chip has been dwindling, and software development has stalled.

Intel may be happy to see Itanium sink as it looks to drop irrelevant products in its pursuit of profitable markets. Intel has been openly lobbying customers to switch from Itanium to x86-based Xeon chips, which commands a server chip market share of more than 90 percent.

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Intel ships latest Itanium chip called Kittson, but grim future looms