So they pay attention to reports that Microsoft will use IBM
First, chips vs. chipsets. According to Whatis.com:
"A chipset is a group of microchips designed to work and sold as a unit in performing one or more related functions. A typical chipset is the Intel 430HX PCIset for the Pentium microprocessor, a two-chip set that provides a Peripheral Component Interconnect bus controller and is designed for a business computer that 'optimizes CPU, PCI and ISA transactions for faster, smoother multimedia performance in video conferencing, playback, and capture applications. This chipset includes support for the Universal Serial Bus (USB)."
What else is in the chipsets besides IBM products? We reported in August that the Xbox 2 will sport graphics processors designed by ATI Technologies
Meanwhile, IBM has already scored with Sony
But does this make a difference to any supplier's top line? With Sony projecting PlayStation2 sales of 20 million through next March and Microsoft forecasting Xbox sales at 14.5 million to 16 million by the end of its fiscal year next June, chip revenues from the current or next-generation game consoles won't have much impact on an Intel with $29 billion in trailing-12-month sales or IBM with $87 billion. The impact on an ATI Technologies ($1.4 billion) or Rambus ($112 million) is much greater.
There could be more than plain old revenues, though, because it certainly gives IBM's Cell technology bragging rights over Intel for most advanced technology -- since that's what customers expect from the ever-more powerful game consoles. And in the market, perceptions matter.