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IBM ditches AMD in US, Europe

Big Blue's Asian operation still a fan, however

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IBM has confirmed it is no longer selling PCs based on AMD processors in North America and Europe - and hasn't done so since May.

Hardly a ringing endorsement for Athlon and Duron, that. Quite apart from Big Blue's decision to drop the chips, no one else noticed for the best part of three months, until a CNET source tipped the newswire off.

That said, IBM's support for AMD was always lukewarm. In the US, it only offered Athlon and Duron as build-to-order options on certain consumer-oriented models. In Canada, it actually shipped a couple of full models based on the parts. You can still buy them, apparently, but once the warehouse is empty, that's it.

IBM will continue to sell AMD-based boxes in Japan and the Far East, a territory far more willing to embrace Intel-alternatives than the West. Witness Transmeta's success - notwithstanding the current economic downturn - over there.

IBM has used AMD chips before, and so may well be willing to consider them again in the future, once the PC market becomes rather more vibrant than it is at the moment. Arguably the delayed release of the desktop version of AMD's latest-generation Athlon, based on the Palomino core, originally expected in July but now set to take place in September, was all about saving the company's strength for when it will really need it: when the market picks up through the back-to-school season and the arrival of Windows XP in October.

AMD will have to face up to Intel's Pentium 4 drive, centring for the moment on the arrival of the 2GHz chip on 26 August and big price cuts to the rest of the family on the same date. It's certainly easier to compete manoeuvres like these with a brand new processor than a model that's been selling for four months. ®

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