Poupourri . . .

Dell To Sell A Lot of AMD Chips Soon

If Dell actually sells anything like twenty million AMD CPUs in the next year, well, let me put it this way. It would represent a bigger gain in overall CPU marketshare than ALL of AMD’s overall gains since 2003.

Obviously, this is a big move, but it doesn’t seem like we have the missing pieces of the puzzle here. Why would Dell jump ship now, and whatever that reason is, why is there such an air of tentativeness to the whole matter? Not that you’d expect Michael Dell to wear an “Intel Sucks Inside” cap, but this is quite unlike, say, Apple shifting over.

In one sense, the answer to the question is easy, they didn’t jump ship until now because they effectively couldn’t, AMD couldn’t have seriously supplied them if they tried.

But why pull the trigger now (and then pull it a few times), when the light is at the end of the tunnel for Intel? Yes, there’s been a number of reasons touted, but they sound more like justifications or even excuses than the real reason.

What could the real reason be? I don’t even feel comfortable speculating, but I suspect this is more due to intercorporate or even interpersonal relationships between Intel and Dell than any technical or financial reason.

By that, I don’t mean somebody didn’t kiss somebody else’s butt in the right spot, but a more general, long-term feeling on both sides that the other side isn’t respectful enough to needs to be put in its place, probably aggravated by relatively new chief executives under considerable pressure due to lack of stellar performance.

I get the sense that a colossal game of chicken is being played between the two to redefine the terms of the relationship. Neither can quite live without the other, no, that sounds too romantic: they’re mostly stuck with each other.

And that’s probably what they hate the most, so now they’re fooling around with other people: Intel with Apple, Dell with AMD. This wouldn’t be happening to the degree that it is if the relationship were truly good.

That being said, what interests me in the short-term besides the hows and how many AMD CPUs Dell will be selling will be the Intel CPUs Dell won’t be selling any more.

What do I mean by that? Will Dell just add a few product lines like, say, HP? Or will they start cutting away, in one shape or form, from Intel’s, as in, “We’re tired of selling Pentium Ds?”

Intel, of course, can say, “And how many Conroes don’t you want now?” and Dell can say, “And how much more marketshare would you like to lose?”

In some ways, this will be a frustrating time, because when it comes to marketshare, at the very least, that’s going to be the big story for the next six-nine months. That will have more influence on relative marketshare than anything and everything else that happens.

Yet it will be kept almost entirely under wraps, with just the occasional open shot and many more subtle, only noticeable if you’re looking for it, maybe, moves to indicate what’s happening.

A quiet war, indeed.


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