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Survey: Firms think twice on Intel

A growing number of businesses don't care if their PCs feature Intel chips inside, according to a new survey.

A growing number of businesses don't care if their PCs feature Intel inside, according to a new survey, but that doesn't mean rivals will soon make substantial gains.

Although 90 percent of businesses have historically chosen Intel-based PCs, 34 percent of some 2,624 companies say they are considering switching over to AMD- or Cyrix-based systems, according to ZD Market Intelligence.

Along with the general observation that businesses are more loyal to PC vendors rather than the chips that go into their systems, the finding seems to offer AMD and others a ray of hope for expanding upon recent gains in the consumer market.

"IT professionals are actively considering these [alternate] systems," said Matt Sargent, a ZD Market Intelligence analyst. "It's something to see people so interested in these alternatives, because usually people are reluctant to try new things."

Sargent was quick to note, however, that the survey doesn't necessarily augur immediate market share gains for AMD and Cyrix. "There's no way of translating this into what's going to happen," he cautioned. "Right now there aren't that many non-Intel business solutions."

AMD and Cyrix currently account for 60 percent of sub-$1,000 desktops and 38 percent of total desktop retail sales, according to Sargent.

But for hardware vendors, the business market is clearly more profitable--and more desirable-- than the retail sector. "They [AMD and Cyrix] are pushing to get into that area. They will attempt to hit that market because it's a very high-margin, very strong market," he noted.

Non-Intel architecture vendors could benefit from business firms' much stronger brand loyalty to favored PC manufacturers, Sargent said. "The interest isn't in Intel, or Cyrix, or AMD, but what brand trusts the processors," he said. "A lot of people that you talk to say, 'I'll just buy whatever HP or IBM put in front of me.'"

AMD, clearly pleased by the report, agreed that processor brands are not usually the top criteria when purchasing a computer. "If you rank the order of buying criteria?microprocessor brand is far down the list," said Dana Krelle, vice president of marketing.

The report vindicates the company's strategy of convincing PC vendors that AND chips don't deter sales, Krelle added. "If we can establish that when a PC buyer is looking at the choice they have, if they're presented with an AMD processor, if they can say 'I've heard of that,' then the machine will be sold," he added.

Intel could not immediately be reached for comment. Intel is an investor in CNET: The Computer Network.