Infrastructure // PC & Servers
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5/18/2006
06:12 PM
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Hey Dell, What Took You So Long To Offer AMD?

It was almost anticlimatic when the announcement came in under the radar Thursday that Dell would break with its long-standing policy of selling Intel-only computers. The confirmation came tacked on to another disappointing Dell quarterly financial report, which perhaps speaks volumes on why the move to AMD was finally made.

It was almost anticlimatic when the announcement came in under the radar Thursday that Dell would break with its long-standing policy of selling Intel-only computers. The confirmation came tacked on to another disappointing Dell quarterly financial report, which perhaps speaks volumes on why the move to AMD was finally made.Dell says it will begin selling servers based on AMD's dual-core Opteron processor before year-end. No word yet if AMD-based PCs and laptops may also follow.

Dell is the last of the big-four computer manufacturers to begin offering AMD-based systems, joining Hewlett-Packard, IBM, and Sun Microsystems. The move comes after AMD has grown its share of the x86 processor market past 20%, and the potential for 25% or more of the market seems reasonable for this year.

It also comes after a year of Dell-AMD rumors that took flight when Dell inexplicably began selling standalone AMD processors on its Web site last fall, then grew larger earlier this month when Dell announced it would join the AMD-led The Green Grid consortium working on strategies for improved energy efficiency in the data center.

The cynical answer to "Why now?" for Dell is that Intel, as a result of AMD stepping up its legal battle against Intel and its alleged monopolistic practices, has been forced to curtail much of its "favored son" incentives that have kept Dell as an Intel-only customer in the past.

Ben Williams, VP of North American marketing for AMD, says "it has always been a mater of when, not if (Dell would offer AMD), based on the fact that AMD's technology is one that customers are asking for...I think it was pure customer requests to utilize our technology."

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