Dell's Web site backing away from AMD chips

Dell has reduced the number of AMD laptops it sells through its Web site, although it's still flogging a range of notebooks based on AMD's Turion chips at retail.

Tom Krazit Former Staff writer, CNET News
Tom Krazit writes about the ever-expanding world of Google, as the most prominent company on the Internet defends its search juggernaut while expanding into nearly anything it thinks possible. He has previously written about Apple, the traditional PC industry, and chip companies. E-mail Tom.
Tom Krazit
2 min read

Dell has decided to stop selling most of its consumer notebooks that use Advanced Micro Device's chips on its Web site, promoting those systems instead through its new retail strategy.

There are still a handful of AMD notebooks available on Dell's site, but only one Insprion system targeted at home users. On the business side, you now have to wade through several Dell Web pages before you stumble upon an AMD-based laptop. Two are available, a Vostro and a Latitude, and both are being promoted as small-to-medium business systems.

The Dell Latitude D531 laptop, one of the few remaining on Dell's Web site with AMD processors. Dell

"To ensure we deliver the best value to our customers, Dell regularly adjusts its product offerings, and how customers can purchase those products," Dell said in a statement. "Currently the majority of our consumer AMD-based systems are available through our retail partners such as Wal-Mart, Best Buy, and Staples, and through telephone sales."

It's hard to see this as anything but a blow to AMD, which is coming off one of its worst years in recent memory. With these moves, Dell has positioned AMD's notebook chips as the budget-friendly alternative, which is never great for the brand. And that's despite the fact that AMD has done fairly well with its notebook chips over the last few years, even though its first true mobile design--as described by the company--won't ship until later this year.

After years of fealty to a direct sales strategy, Dell has in recent months begun to roll out its products to retail stores, even going so far as to rub elbows with the blue shirts at Best Buy. There, a wider range of AMD systems remains available. And Dell continues to offer several AMD-based desktops and servers on its Web page, which despite the new retail presence, still accounts for most of Dell's business.

But after AMD spent so much time and effort trying to win Dell as a customer, it has to be disheartening to see its Texas neighbors relegate their chips to the bottom-feeder part of the market. With new notebook chips due out fairly soon, AMD could be in a position to start moving back up the ladder into more powerful and profitable systems.

That's assuming, of course, it can get those chips out on time, and without incident. That's something AMD's customers are likely worried about coming off the Barcelona and Phenom debacles.