Thursday, January 24th 2008

IBM may Create more Formal Chip Manufacturing Ties with AMD

Industry analysts, and sources, have speculated about the possible creation of a more formal relationship between IBM and AMD. Such a relationship may result in a possible merger between the two companies in the future. An IBM takeover, or joint venture company may result. Such a merger would allow IBM to maintain ties to some management in the computer industry as the company moves more toward technology services. The creation of some sort of more formal association could help inject confidence into AMD which has not reported a quarterly profit since mid-2006. IBM and AMD have been technology partners for several years, and are currently completing a joint manufacturing plant in Malta.Source: FT.com
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58 Comments on IBM may Create more Formal Chip Manufacturing Ties with AMD

#1
Kreij
Senior Monkey Moderator
No problem. Forums can be a difficult medium to get a point across clearly.

One thing that many people do not see is that while mergers may seem like a consuption of one company that will produce a loss of competition, it many times sparks a sub-level of offshoot companies with very innovative ideas.

Many times the employees of a large company will leave and create a niche company that pushes technology in another direction in direct competition to the company that they left.

This creates a sub-level of competition that we who look at the highest levels don't really notice.

If these small companies make a break through, they are bought up by the larger companies and their owners go on to do it again after making a fortune from their sell out.

This is capatislm at its finest. There is nothing stopping anyone in the US from having an idea and capitalizing on that idea.
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#2
btarunr
Editor & Senior Moderator
Oh how much we've been speculating about IBM eating into AMD. Finally!. It's good for both companies, IBM can share lot of its cutting edge research with AMD (and also own part of AMD) while AMD can use the backing of IBM and its use of the AMD Barcelona in its servers.
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#3
Kreij
Senior Monkey Moderator
btarunr said:
Oh how much we've been speculating about IBM eating into AMD. Finally!. It's good for both companies, IBM can share lot of its cutting edge research with AMD (and also own part of AMD) while AMD can use the backing of IBM and its use of the AMD Barcelona in its servers.
I agree, but it is only good for IBM if they can take something away from the table.
I think that AMD would gain from something like this, but I am not sure it would be a good investment for IBM unless they saw great promise in utilizing some portions of AMDs current architechture and research in their future designs.
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#5
btarunr
Editor & Senior Moderator
After the AIM broke, IBM is pretty much off with its own PPC designs, some of which are licensed to Freescale. Yes they have AMD servers, just that we could see more of Barcelona. With TYAN and SuperMicro coming up with four socket SSC-CEB boards (socket 1207) we could just see IBM's implementation of such for its high density server, workstation and cluster-computing solutions.
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#6
Thermopylae_480
That would be interesting. I would like to see IBM take back a portion of the PC market, and keep up with its server market. I've always admired the company.
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#7
btarunr
Editor & Senior Moderator
After Lenovo, I don't think IBM will ever get back to PC. IBM had a very large manufacturing facility and loads of OEM partners in China (as the Legend group). All of IBM's PC division led by Legend, Foxconn and several tiny outfits gave rise to Lenovo. IBM lost lot of infrastructure with the autotomy of its PC division. So it's more about software, business consultation services, business process outsourcing, server, custom cluster-computing, scientific research and academic project funding/partnership for IBM. Human Genome Project strikes me first.
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#8
laszlo
What will happen after 23nm; sooner or later they can't shrink more with today's technology

Both AMD & INTEL will reach a limit and what then? Nano?
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#9
btarunr
Editor & Senior Moderator
Exactly. While the fab-shrinks are good, there are no alternate technologies for the insulation after the current silicon, SOI, etc. While Intel innovated the Hi-K, there's no alternative technology from AMD/IBM yet.
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#10
laszlo
btarunr said:
Exactly. While the fab-shrinks are good, there are no alternate technologies for the insulation after the current silicon, SOI, etc. While Intel innovated the Hi-K, there's no alternative technology from AMD/IBM yet.
I think Intel is using already for the 45nm chips the Hi-K which has less power leakage than AMS used SOI (remember the story about Phenom problems due the big power leakage) and as i know IBM also use SOI;in fact all AMD chips from 65nm down has a problem due this.
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#11
Cybrnook2002
erocker said:
I don't know if you just like to incite arguments, but you are completely wrong.
Im with you on this one buddy. We should add a "spam" filter to some of these.....:toast:
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#12
pentastar111
Kreij said:
I don't think you would have to worry about stagnate R&D, IBM has always been on the bleeding edge of technology in many arenas.

I don't think, however, that a merger of the two (actually three if you count ATI) companies would "squash" Intel. While Intel has done there share of fumbling on past chips, they are no fools when it comes to new technology either. If I am not mistaken, their road map for 23nm process is in place and it would not surprise me if they already have working prototypes.

I also don't think that an IBM/AMD merger would stifle competition, I think it would make it more fierce, as it would force Intel to never rest and that would cause the same to be true for the IBM/AMD.

Just think, if Intel merged with NVidia and IBM merged with AMD/ATI, we would see one stunning battle of the titans for both processors and GPUs.

Now if only someone would come along to challenge Microsoft, we could get a big bucket of popcorn and relax and enjoy the show!

It's fun to speculate, no?
My sentiments exactly!!!
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#13
AsRock
TPU addict
I hope not IF it going happen i'd be more happier if Samsung brought it. What make me even more happier is that AMD get though this by them selfs.
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#14
btarunr
Editor & Senior Moderator
Other than financial benefit, Samsung wouldn't have helped AMD in a way IBM could.
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#15
Kreij
Senior Monkey Moderator
btarunr said:
Other than financial benefit, Samsung wouldn't have helped AMD in a way IBM could.
You are right there Btu. However, if AMD wanted to try to push forward the market of all-in-on solutions where the computer is built into the monitor, their full product line involvement (CPU, chipset, GPU) and Samsung's great monitor innovations could result in some very interesting solutions. Especially for the business sector.

A low cost, low power, small footprint, decent performance all-in-one solution could catch on very nicely in the cubicle world.
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#16
erocker
What do we all really want though? Something that blows the competition out of the water and spurs on advancement and tech with processors. Processors are lagging behind video cards and have been for a while. I think Kreij posted earlier that he can feel something coming, and I agree. I would love to see AMD/IBM make a chip that brings Core 2 to it's knees, and then Intel counter with something else. It would be nice if the chip market was a little more alive, I think IBM would help this alot. When you have companies holding back processors because of lack of competition that is not good. More powerful, and cost effective processors for the consumer is all I'm looking for. :toast:
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#17
Kreij
Senior Monkey Moderator
Good morning Erocker! It's warming up nicely here.

There is one problem with moving the chipmarket to quickly, and that is adoption of new product. If Intel or anyone is pushing new CPU's out the door at a too rapid pace, they will be wasting R&D money as there will be negligable inception of their product before the next one hits the market.

I think the pace at the moment is relatively fast. I purchased my CPu less than a year ago, and it's already a generation behind. That is great news for us crazy techies, but the majority of people are not going to upgrade that quickly and that means lots of chips sitting on shelves gathering dust. It is really the people like Dell, HP, etc. that keep the influx of new CPUs moving to the market.

I think that a 6 month to 1 year release rate for new product is sufficient to accomplish innovative increases and product adoption. Any faster than that and people are left with so many choices that they have not idea what to choose.

If you don''t believe me, make a list of all the Intel processors that have been released in the last year at all price point levels.
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#18
candle_86
I don't know if they buy AMD, we could see a PC market back, that gives IBM, CPU, Chipset. That also gives them alot of PC Motherboards also to build with. IBM was always a great desktop and ID love to see one agian
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#19
Kreij
Senior Monkey Moderator
candle_86 said:
I don't know if they buy AMD, we could see a PC market back, that gives IBM, CPU, Chipset. That also gives them alot of PC Motherboards also to build with. IBM was always a great desktop and ID love to see one agian
I agree in that I think IBM had decent systems. However, they sold off their assets to Levono because it was not as profitable as they wanted it to be. I cannot see IBM getting back into the desktop/laptop market for that reason. I think they would be looking something completely new.
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#20
candle_86
still Aptivia was good, i still have one from 1998, nothing not even the bigfoot ever messed up
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#21
btarunr
Editor & Senior Moderator
Kreij said:
You are right there Btu. However, if AMD wanted to try to push forward the market of all-in-on solutions where the computer is built into the monitor, their full product line involvement (CPU, chipset, GPU) and Samsung's great monitor innovations could result in some very interesting solutions. Especially for the business sector.

A low cost, low power, small footprint, decent performance all-in-one solution could catch on very nicely in the cubicle world.
Such solutions have already been worked out by several companies in the past like NEC, but didn't quite click. What AMD needs isn't solution-specific innovation but core product specific innovation. It needs lots of money, lots of drawing-boards and IBM has both, Samsung just has the money and maybe a handful of products thought out. Think macro. IBM was a VLSI expert even when all of us were zygotes.
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#22
AsRock
TPU addict
btarunr said:
Other than financial benefit, Samsung wouldn't have helped AMD in a way IBM could.
I think AMD are just having money issue's now..
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#23
btarunr
Editor & Senior Moderator
AsRock said:
I think AMD are just having money issue's now..
Oh so trying to say that the Phenom flopped because AMD had less money? Money isn't an issue, AMD's products are. They are not able to compete with Intel now, and that's solely because they became lethargic after the K8 success while Intel worked on the Core. AMD needs cash and brains, not just cash.
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#24
Kreij
Senior Monkey Moderator
Hi Btu, if I ever start a company your my #1 pick for a board of director's position.

AMD has an excellent core product line (CPU, chipset, GPU). The problem as I see it is that they are having issues with solution specific adoption. Every product must be created to push forward a new solution to an existing problem. If you push forward technology simply for the sake of doing so, you get the likes of Aegia. While not useles, it's a slow hard climb to acceptance and adoption.

Yes, AMD needs cash and IBM could fatten their wallet, but to what end? In the next couple of years, what is going to be the focus? Just because in the last five years people wanted X, doesn't mean that will be the case in the near future.

My personal feeling is that in the near future, people are going to be wanting less imposition on their person space. Less boxes, less cable, keep it clean. Keyboards will be replaced by intelligent touch screens and the mouse will become a thing of the past. Voice response is still crap and an imposition to personal privacy so I don't see that ever gaining much ground.

That is why I think that the chip people are going to be getting really friendly with the monitor people soon.

As always, pure speculation. ;)
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#25
btarunr
Editor & Senior Moderator
Kreij said:
Hi Btu, if I ever start a company your my #1 pick for a board of director's position.
Make me its medical officer instead :D

Kreij said:
AMD has an excellent core product line (CPU, chipset, GPU). The problem as I see it is that they are having issues with solution specific adoption. Every product must be created to push forward a new solution to an existing problem. If you push forward technology simply for the sake of doing so, you get the likes of Aegia. While not useles, it's a slow hard climb to acceptance and adoption.
If it was excellent, we wouldn't have seen a decline in its market share. Well all this while both Intel and AMD have stayed on merely being product-specific and not solution-specific (by solution I mean stuff like the hypothetical Samsung PC you were talking about) AMD's job is to make good, top quality product and leave it for the people to derive solutions out of it. Think about the Core 2 Duo chugging inside Macs where that's the same Core microarchitecture. When there is priority based on the basics first (make a leading processor, the best performing GPU, etc., ) people will begin to look upto the company and develop aspirational value. This will give rise to innovation with small-time companies, they could devise the next big thing using AMD parts, Let AMD first become the reason behind the Koreans going to Dresden or Sunnyvale with their blue prints and not the other way round. This will breathe life into the industry. And how does AMD build that aspirational value? By working with people who are experts in the field, people who played with silicon even when Elvis rocked.

Kreij said:
My personal feeling is that in the near future, people are going to be wanting less imposition on their person space. Less boxes, less cable, keep it clean. Keyboards will be replaced by intelligent touch screens and the mouse will become a thing of the past. Voice response is still crap and an imposition to personal privacy so I don't see that ever gaining much ground.
If people wanted such a solution, Apple Mac would be way over the PC irrespective of price. Even if Samsung comes up with such a product, will it be priced lower than a Mac? Talking about touch-screens, VRS, etc., you're basically hinting at innovation, IBM has plenty besides what's the point in a magical Samsung PC with a slow AMD processor? Samsung would much rather use Intel and make its product look better to the consumer "Hey we've got Intel inside too!"
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