Big Blue Buying Green?

People have been speculating about somebody saving AMD by buying it so long, they’re starting to believe it.

Recently, one “analyst” apparently decided, “Gee, so many people think it would be a good idea, it must be true,” and said so in one of his reports.

The problem with this rumor, even after setting aside the mere trifle that there isn’t a single fact behind it, is that it falls into this category of thought:

“You know, it would really be great if Anandtech sent me all their test equipment for free after they were finished with their testing. I’d have up to date equipment all the time, and I’d make plenty of money on eBay.

Yes, there’s absolutely no doubt that would be fantastic, for you.

But what’s in it for Anandtech?

That’s the question that needs to be asked about this rumor, what’s in it for IBM?

Leaving aside the x86 cross-licensing issue after any takeover, what does buying AMD do for IBM besides buying jihad against Intel?

Now you might like the idea of IBM declaring jihad against Intel, but why should they? IBM has been getting rid of its hardware divisions left and right the last few years and becoming ever more profitable selling services. They also make a ton of money selling process technologies to AMD; why would they suddenly want to do a 180 and spend billions of buying AMD, more billions paying off AMD’s debts, and even more building fabs for them? Why spend all that money just for the privilege of fighting Intel?

No, what is far more likely to happen is that we’re going to see some fab collaboration announced in the upcoming months. Maybe that New York State fab AMD was supposed to build becomes a partially or totally IBM fab, with AMD getting the bulk of the output from that.

IBM is going to need a 32nm foundry anyway with their alliance, and they probably could use a big customer for it, so such a deal would benefit both parties. Something like this is quite possible.

In any event, in the future, when you hear rumors like that, a good way to test them is to forget about how good it would be for your favorite company, or you, and think why it would be good for the buyer.


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