Asus dances around the K7M controversy

— 9:45 AM on November 8, 1999

Will they or won't they? Asus has produced what reviewers are calling the best AMD Athlon motherboard around, but they sure aren't very proud of that fact. Are they going to sell their product like it deserves? K7M info is hard to come by, with Asus keeping mum on its web site and otherwise about the board. Folks around the globe are seeing the board and even ads for it, from what I've heard, but availability in the U.S. is limited.

The problem, of course, is Intel putting pressure on its "partners" to avoid the Athlon. Now that AMD has the technology lead, Intel seems content to take the "abuse of monopoly power" approach. Word has it Intel has rattled its saber about BX chipset shortages and the like, at least implicitly threatening to cut back on supply to manufacturers who pursue Athlon mobo production. The tactic has been somewhat effective, so far, giving Intel time to bring its competing Coppermine chips and corresponding chipsets to market.

Kyle at the HardOCP set off a bit of a panic by posting mention of a rumor that Asus would be ceasing production of the K7M soon. The blokes at the Register have investigated further, and Asus is dancing around the issue a bit. Their position seems to be that they will make K7Ms for "OEM customers," but apparently not for retail customers. Clear as mud?

The Register's most interesting contribution was digging up this quotation:

A high-ranking Asus executive, who requested anonymity, said: "I have no comment about that [the K7M]." He continued: "Nobody can talk about the K7. It's a very sensitive topic, we don't want any employee to release any K7-related information to anybody."

Hmmm... What exactly is going on here? Let us know if you know anything. In the meantime, we'll keep our eyes peeled.

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