AMD Still Stuck in the Dell

Last time we checked in with Advanced Micro Devices (NYSE: AMD  ) , the chip maker had laid out an interesting power-saving initiative called The Green Grid. Sun Microsystems (Nasdaq: SUNW  ) and IBM (NYSE: IBM  ) were also at the coming-out party. Now you can add a party crasher: Dell (Nasdaq: DELL  ) , which triggered speculation about a renewed flirtation with AMD after donning some green jeans of its own on Wednesday.

The thinking must be that Dell has suffered long enough without AMD's hot-selling Opteron processors for x86 servers. Maybe, but the numbers tell a different story. According to a press release from researcher IDC, Dell held steady at 9.6% in last year's Q4 study of server revenue market shares. And it held the No. 2 spot in terms of overall shipments.

Frankly, those numbers don't sound all that painful to me. So I asked Jim McGregor, a chip industry analyst with In-Stat, for perspective. His comments were unambiguous: "Not having Opteron in its product lineup has definitely put Dell at a disadvantage in terms of product selection, but what it lacks in product selection, it makes up for in manufacturing cost, which gives it more room to play on price and services. As a result, the impact on Dell has been negligible."

In other words, why are we even talking about this?

Maybe it's me, but I don't see any reason to let the speculative fires burn again till Dell reports a quarter in which it loses substantial server market share. That day may be coming, of course. (Certainly, AMD is putting enough pressure on Intel (Nasdaq: INTC  ) to make it possible.) But I'm willing to wait. If (when?) Dell loses ground, I'll be ready to write about how the long romance between Intel and Dell has gone sour. Until then, let's please just call this tech love story what it is -- a marriage that needs work.

Grab the salsa. A bowlful of chip-related Foolishness awaits:

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Fool contributorTim Beyerswonders when Dell will finally break down and tell Intel it has to date other people. Tim didn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this story at the time of publication. You can find out which stocks he owns by checking Tim's Foolprofile. The Motley Fool has an ironcladdisclosure policy.


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