Stories by Tom Krazit

Dell to use AMD chips this year: analyst

A financial analyst issued a report on January 10 predicting that Dell will drop its exclusive use of Intel chips this year and introduce servers based on AMD's Opteron processors.
Les Santiago, an analyst at Piper Jaffray & Co, issued that day a report based partly "on conversations with our sources in the PC supply chain" saying Opteron servers bearing Dell's brand are expected to appear in the second half of the year.
Ever since AMD's Opteron came onto the market, Dell has scrambled to explain why it has continued to exclude AMD's chips from its portfolio despite the performance advantage of the Opteron over Intel's Xeon. Most often, Dell tells reporters and analysts that its customers aren't really asking for the Opteron products and that if Dell were to switch, it would incur product development and support costs that would hurt its low-cost operating model.
But other companies, such as HP, have embraced Opteron. One oft-heard reason for Dell's stance is the widespread industry belief that Dell receives preferential treatment, such as early product introductions and discounts on chip purchases, for remaining loyal to Intel. Those allegations are part of the antitrust lawsuit filed by AMD against Intel last year that claimsIntel rewards its customers with selective rebates if they buy fewer AMD chips. Intel has denied those charges.
Many analysts also believe that in order to maintain that preferential treatment, Dell occasionally floats suggestions within the media and analyst community that it is thinking about switching to AMD's chips. The theory is that Dell extracts concessions from Intel by threatening to end its loyalty. Competition between the companies on server chips has only grown more intense since both companies introduced dual-core processors.
Dell has always said that if it were losing business to Opteron servers from its server competitors, it would have to make a switch to stay competitive. But company Chairman Michael Dell told IT users at Gartner's Symposium IT/Xpo in Orlando last October that he believed Intel's 2006 road map would tip the competitive balance back in Intel's favour.
Spokesmen from Dell and AMD did not immediately return calls seeking comment. The disclosure form at the end of the report notes "Piper Jaffray was making a market in the securities of Advanced Micro Devices at the time this research report was published. Piper Jaffray will buy and sell Advanced Micro Devices securities on a principal basis."

TSMC CEO: Fabless chip companies on the rise in China

Within the next ten to fifteen years, it's likely that Chinese chip designers will have placed a few companies within the top 20 fabless semiconductor companies in the world, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd.'s (TSMC's) chief executive officer told a meeting of the U.S.-Taiwan Business Council Thursday.

Analyst predicts Dell Opteron servers by end of '06

A financial analyst issued a report Tuesday predicting that Dell will once and for all drop its exclusive use of Intel chips in 2006 and introduce servers based on Advanced Micro Devices's Opteron processors.

Jobs introduces new notebook

Apple Computer's Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Steve Jobs introduced a new notebook and an iMac computer that use Intel's latest processor on Tuesday, six months ahead of the schedule outlined by Apple last year.

Santa Claus worm strikes IM clients

The Santa Claus worm doesn't care whether you've been naughty or nice, but it's making a list of PCs to infect this holiday season, according to a threat alert released by security firm IMlogic Tuesday.

RIM goes on offensive in patent dispute with NTP

Despite expectations by industry and legal analysts that Research in Motion (RIM) would settle its ongoing patent dispute with NTP, the BlackBerry maker came out swinging Monday, bolstered by recent decisions by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) that call NTP's claims into question.

Dell recalls 35,000 batteries worldwide

Dell and the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) have announced a worldwide recall of about 35,000 notebook batteries that could potentially pose a fire risk.

Report: NTP offers RIM a deal at 5.7% of revenue

NTP has offered Research in Motion (RIM) a new settlement deal that asks for 5.7% of RIM's future revenue from US BlackBerry sales, the Wall Street Journal reports, citing an unnamed source.

Intel working on rootkit detection techniques

Intel is working on a research project that would immediately notify PC users if they inadvertently download a rootkit like the XCP (extended copy protection) software found on certain music CDs shipped by Sony, researchers said Tuesday.

Intel brings virtualisation to desktop chips

<b>SAN FRANCISCO:</b> Intel is unveiling two new desktop processors that come with hardware support for virtualisation technologies, but users won't be able to take advantage of that technology for some time.

Palm CEO reiterates commitment to Palm OS

The unrest among Palm OS developers over Palm's forthcoming Windows Mobile-based Treo smart phone has prompted Palm President and Chief Executive Officer Ed Colligan to pen a letter to Palm's developer community with promises to continue releasing Palm OS products.

HP turns to AMD for new blade PCs

Hewlett-Packard Co. (HP) is expected to release an update to its blade PC product on Monday, switching to Advanced Micro Devices Inc.'s (AMD's) processors for its alternative to traditional desktop PCs.

Treo 650 to get BlackBerry software next year

Weeks after announcing plans to ship the BlackBerry software with a forthcoming phone from Nokia Corp., Research In Motion Ltd. (RIM) is expected to announce Monday that Palm Inc. will install the push e-mail software on the Treo 650 starting early next year.