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Dell 'to add' AMD CPUs to product line - CEO

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Getting a little chilly down there, Satan? Yes, infernal ice-skating may soon become possible, following Dell CEO Kevin Rollins' admission that the computer giant is close to signing up AMD as a processor supplier.

Speaking in an Infoworld interview, Rollins said: "My guess is we're going to want to add that [AMD] product line in the future."

How come? "They've been getting better and better. The technology is better. In some areas they're now in the lead on Intel. That is what is interesting us more than anything," offered Rollins.

"They are more viable of a company than they once were," he added.

It's the server market, he has his eye on, with the Opteron line grabbing his attention. Certainly, that's where Rollins feels AMD has the technology advantage over Intel, he suggests in the interview. But his comments suggest an interest in the desktop space too, with only AMD's own limitations as a manufacturer preventing such a move.

"They don't have enough [fab] capacity for us to use them on the desktop," he said. "For us, fundamentally, AMD is much more interesting in the server, workstation or gaming arenas."

Of course, we've been here before, so many times. Dell, the only major computer manufacturer not currently sourcing CPUs from AMD, has hinted at a shift from its Intel-only policy on a number of occasions, largely as a bargaining tool with Intel. Rollins' statements this week may be just such a move, but they're certainly the closest the company has come to saying it does intend to use AMD product.

Rollins is smart enough not to provide a timetable - "in the future" is about as open as it gets. So there's plenty of room for Intel to make the manufacturer a better offer.

And it's not like turning its back on AMD has cost Dell sales. "We have not been losing a ton of business because we haven't had AMD," said Rollins.

But is that starting to happen? Certainly its main rivals, the likes of HP, Sun and IBM, have been stoking the fire for Opteron, and Dell may well feel the time has come to follow suit. ®

Related stories

Itanium sales fall $13.4bn shy of $14bn forecast
AMD Opteron noses into Euro x86 server sales
AMD grabs Intel market share in desktop arena
AMD 'penetrates' Dell - again

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