AMD is inviting journalists to a cocktail reception on Monday, February 25. I stopped reading the invitation at "no news will be discussed." The depressing thing? These wine-and-dine schemes actually work most of the time. Not because the tech press corps is swayed by free booze, but because most reporters are lazy. Proximity to power is more intoxicating than alcohol. Even if there's "no news," you can bet at least a few can be counted on to transcribe whatever the chipmaker's executives tell them. We'll pass on the party, but you can bet we'll be searching Google News for the obligatory stories about AMD's comeback against Intel the next morning. The invitation:
Nvidia should think about buying chipmaker AMD to "rearchitect it," according to American Technology Research analyst Doug Freedman. Translation: Kick out management, change its technology direction, and end AMD's perpetual Perils of Pauline drama. Both AMD and Intel have plans to integrate graphics functions into their microprocessors, rendering Nvidia's graphics cards superfluous. Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang would be a good candidate to turn around AMD's fortunes, and "buying AMD propels nVidia into a formidable competitor for Intel," says Freedman.
High-end graphics card maker Nvidia is making an ad push to make the brand as recognizable as Intel, which has spend millions on its "Intel Inside" ad campaign. Nvidia controls more than two-thirds of the market for desktop graphics cards but is facing competition from Intel and AMD, which bought graphics chipmaker ATI last year. Must be exciting for Nvidia marketing exec Dan Vivoli, who finally gets to spend some money after 10 years at the company: The ad campaign could cost as much as $30 million-$40 million, compared to a $353,000 spend in the first 9 months of 2007.
Dell has stopped selling almost all consumer PCs with AMD processors in favor of chips from Intel. It will continue to sell AMD machines over the phone and through retail partners like Wal-Mart, but since much of Dell's computer sales are through its website, this is a serious blow to AMD. Dell spokesman David Frink did not give any reasoning behind the switch, but said "we adjust our product offerings frequently." A posting on the Direct2Dell blog said "we are committed to the AMD product lines as a long-term partner to provide the maximum choice for our customers." Translation: Intel gave Dell a better deal. AMD shareholders were not impressed with the switch: AMD was off almost 3.5 percent on the day. (Photo by AP/Paul Sakuma)
BusinessWeek's Spencer Ante has another interview outtake with former Hewlett-Packard board member and Kleiner Perkins cofounder Tom Perkins. In it, Perkins explains how he helped turn around HP. Here's the 100-word version of the harrowing tale of board committees, patent policies and microprocessors oh my!
The state of New York is launching its own investigation into Intel's anticompetitive behavior, adding to a list including the European Commission and Korea, all egged on by chipmaking rival AMD. It's only natural for New York attorney general Andrew Cuomo to want in on the action. The accusations are similar to other investigations: penalizing computer makers who purchase non-Intel chips, improperly signing exclusive contracts, and cutting off competitors' access to distribution channels. In other words, conducting business a bit too effectively for rivals' tastes. Note that IBM's main chip-assembly plant is based in New York.
You heard about Abu Dubai snapping up 8.1 percent of AMD? Well, FBN anchor Alexis Glick read the tape wrong as the news came across the wire and announced Apple invested in the chipmaker. This led to a good three minutes of hjinx as contributor Charles Payne analyzed the news. When Glick tried to correct herself, it just got worse. SAI transcribed the whole thing, but here's an excerpt:
Chipmakers' stocks fell yesterday after a Morgan Stanley report advised investors to sell Intel and AMD because of a possible price war between the two. Of course, what's bad for chipmakers is good news for PC makers, and computer buyers. Baby needs a new Mac. Bring on the price war, we say! [The Register]
CONFONZ — The Conference Fonzie was certain that Britain was known for its manners. Those beloved British boxing boys are supposed to be well behaved and polite in all social situations, aren't they? Unfortunately, this doesn't seem to apply to imported Limey tech journalists. To their credit, Intel's international press day, a preface to the Intel Developer Forum at San Francisco's Moscone Center later this week, is a somewhat dull event.
Intel has snagged videogame programming tools provider Havok. Its "physics engine," among other software products, is widely used in the industry to simulate real-world motion inside games. Havok will continue to operate independently, but is likely to offer Intel-specific products to aid in the chipmaker's gaming arms race with AMD. Intel needs all the help it can purchase to drum up support for its upcoming Larrabee graphics chip. So how does Havok fit in?
When we saw AMD president Dirk Meyer staring into our inner beings from a banner ad, we were compelled to click through and rewarded with a multimedia journey into the dark heart of man. AMD put a little "online event" together to show just how terribly they need a new marketing team. More scary heads on teal backgrounds after the jump.