The chip maker Advanced Micro Devices, a fierce rival of Intel, has won a strong endorsement from International Business Machines that should give AMD a further lift in the corporate computer market.
IBM said Tuesday that it would offer five computer models powered by AMD’s Opteron microprocessor, intended for use in corporate data centers for mainstream business tasks. Previously, IBM had used AMD chips only for high- performance, scientific computing.
The IBM nod is the latest in a string of successes for AMD. Its market share is rising both in corporate server computers and in personal computers. IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Sun Microsystems and even Dell have signed on to use its chips. Dell’s announcement in May that it would use Opteron chips in some of its server computers was a striking break with its Intel-only tradition.
Yet Advanced Micro has been pummeled on Wall Street recently. Its share price has fallen more than half since March, from a high of $42.70 to $19.10 on Tuesday, down 29 cents for the day. The slide points to the company’s daunting challenge in going up against Intel, a company with sales more than six times as large.
Investors, analysts note, are skittish because the Intel giant has been roused. To try to stop its slippage in market share in personal computers, Intel started a price war in March. Both companies have suffered as a result, but Intel has pockets deep enough to outlast AMD, analysts say.
Technically, Intel has also shown signs of finally responding to Advanced Micro Devices. The smaller company jumped ahead of Intel with innovative chip designs that were faster and consumed less electricity than the Intel offerings.
But new microprocessors introduced by Intel in recent weeks, analysts say, are a strong competitive response for personal computers, both desktops and notebooks. And Intel, they say, is also moving forward with power-efficient designs for server computers.
Despite the recent anxiety on Wall Street, analysts say the IBM announcement firms up AMD’s stature as a technology supplier to corporate data centers. Business customers are far more conservative than price-conscious personal computer buyers. They look for suppliers who are going to be reliable and in place permanently, which at times has been a question for AMD.
The Opteron servers that IBM introduced Tuesday are intended for essential business chores – running the software for data warehouses, e-mail and programs that manage purchasing, supplies and manufacturing.
Many computer makers have worked with AMD over the years, hoping that it might do well enough to give Intel some competition on price and technology. AMD has often stumbled, but in the last few years, it has moved from being a copycat to catching Intel off guard with its microprocessing innovations.
Buoyant sales goal in Japan
Advanced Micro Devices plans to triple its share of Japan’s market for server chips by the end of this year, helped by orders from IBM, Bloomberg reported from Tokyo.
The company’s share will rise to 10 percent from about 2.9 percent now, David Uze, the head of AMD’s Japan unit, said. Sales of its Opteron chips used in servers will be bolstered by orders from IBM, the biggest supplier of servers in Japan, and other makers, he said.
IBM had 20 percent of Japan’s server market last year, according to the research firm Gartner.
Fuente: The New York Times, Steve Lohr