Grapevine (TX) - At a meeting with journalists, including TG Daily, at the site of the World Series of Video Games on Sunday afternoon, Dell Computer Chairman Michael Dell gave clear signals - while omitting any and all details - that his company will have more to say about expanding its relationship with CPU supplier AMD in the near future.
The signals came during a discussion about Dell Computer's XPS series of computers, which is soon to be augmented by a brand-new XPS 700 desktop chassis. The 700 will feature Intel's Core 2 Extreme processor, which has not yet been formally announced by Intel, though that announcement is expected as soon as this week. One reporter asked Mr. Dell, should customers expect to see an AMD processor in the XPS series? "Could do," replied Dell, before adding, "We're not announcing any other new products today." When pressed for details - specifically, when asked whether Dell's partnership with AMD, announced last May, would be long-term, or whether it was specifically to fill holes in specific product segments, Mr. Dell responded, "I think it's definitely a long-term partnership. We see lots of opportunity."
The tooth-pulling exercise continued as TG Daily pressed Mr. Dell for further details. We asked him to verify that the AMD partnership is a full one, and not just a passing opportunity to have someone else fill the multi-processor performance gap in servers that Intel left open. Mr. Dell gave a long pause, and then gave the clearest signal of the day: "It's a long-term partnership," Dell said, "and we'll have more to say about that, but don't have anything to say about it right now...I think our customers will benefit from the strategy."
At this point in the discussion, a Dell Computer spokesperson stepped in to clarify: "Part of this, you have to realize," he interjected, "[is] you don't jump into these kinds of decisions with the idea of jumping out six months later. If you're out there to make that commitment, you're on that path, and you have a development cycle that goes out a ways. I think Michael speaks to a commitment that goes out over time. What the relationship looks like between the vendors and Dell is ultimately of secondary importance to Michael's point: Our customers are asking for certain things, and we're making sure that we deliver them the best possible products that we can, at any given point in time."
Mr. Dell then added, "This is a customer-focused strategy for us... Intel's been a great supplier, they've been a great partner; they'll continue to be a great supplier and a great partner. But they're not the only provider of microprocessors in the world, and we're not the only computer company."
Stay in touch with TG Daily for more from the Michael Dell roundtable, including more details on the XPS 700, some thoughts on the Alienware acquisition, and Mr. Dell's thoughts about a possible new wave of "consolidation" among second-tier players in the PC industry.