Is Dell's AMD partnership a leverage tool?
DigiTimes has revealed an interesting
take on Dell's new relationship with AMD, which recent rumors suggest will yield some
AMD-powered Dell notebooks in the near future. According to industry
sources quoted by DigiTimes, the relationship is a reaction to OEM
pricing reforms planned by Intel. Last month, the site reported that
Intel planned to enforce flat pricing across the OEM and retail channels
from September on. The Inquirer added yesterday that
this "flat pricing" will actually be in tiers and that Dell will still
get discounts over retailers and smaller OEMs. However, those discounts
will be fixed, and Dell will reportedly pay the same as competitors like
HP and Lenovo regardless of how many chips it orders.
With either flat or tiered pricing, Dell will likely end up paying more, and
DigiTimes' sources believe the AMD server deal was a warning for Intel
to change its pricing plans. Servers were the first strike, and the
sources say Dell is now using AMD notebooks as a bargaining tool to
squeeze lower prices out of Intel. A similar strategy already worked
last year: Taiwanese notebook makers claim Dell was prepping
some notebooks with AMD processors, but juicy pricing incentives from
Intel made Dell postpone the project.
History may not repeat itself, however, because DigiTimes says Intel "shows
no sign that it will change its mind" this time around. Additionally,
The Inquirer claims Intel
plans to give Apple and Lenovo the majority of its initial mobile Core 2
Duo shipments, leaving Dell with potential shortages during the
back-to-school rush. Combined with increased pricing, such supply
favoritism could cement Dell's plans to sell AMD-based laptops.