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VIA chipper about mobo market moves

ABN Amro not so keen though

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There's plenty of room in the market for our motherboards, VIA representatives told us yesterday. But that belief hasn't stopped the Hong Kong branch of broker ABM Amro from downgrading the Tainwanese venture's stock to Reduce.

ABN Amro's reasoning, according to a DigiTimes report, is that SiS' SiS645 chipset - designed, like VIA's controversial P4X266, for the Pentium 4 and DDR SDRAM memory - will beat the VIA part in both performance and sales.

Certainly it's likely to be selected by top-tier mobo makers, who have so far rejected VIA's product, largely because its lacks Intel approval. The P4X266 is the subject of an increasingly bitter legal battle between Intel and VIA - who are hardly what you'd call firm friends at the best of times.

ABN Amro reckons VIA's move into the motherboard market will help boost the profile of the P4X266. VIA itself sees the part not only as a promotional tool to market not only the P4X266 brand but the company itself, but as a profit centre in its own right, international marketing director Richard Brown told The Register.

ABN Amro disagrees. It believes VIA will need time to build up brand awareness and customer acceptance. We're less sure of that since the company has plenty of experience developing reference motherboards, and it's well known as a chipset designer.

VIA isn't worried about incurring the wrath of motherboard makers who buy its other chipsets and might regard the launch of VIA mobos as competition. In this market, Brown said, they're not our customers so there's no direct competition.

In short, if they're not buying the P4X266, they can't complain if VIA offers P4X266 boards of its own. Equally, it doesn't encourage them to do so at a later date, but again VIA is apparently unconcerned - the market is big enough for all of us, it reiterates.

VIA's various mobos, aimed at low- mid- and high-end PCs, will begin shipping at the end of this month. ®

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