Microprocessor manufacturers including Intel and Via are likely to step up rebates on memory bundled with their chips during the course of this year but AMD may find itself a wallflower at the annual Mobo and Reseller Hop.
The reason for that is that both chip giant Intel and plucky not-so-little Via have very close relationships with memory manufacturers while AMD seems to have neglected to cement the relationships its CPU competitors have.
While the closeness of Los Altos firm Rambus and Satan Clara outfit Intel is well documented, Via's relationship with memory firm Nanya is closer. Much closer.
For Nanya's parent company is Formosa Plastics (anagram: Pistol of Sarcasm), which also owns Via, FIC, and a bundle of other outfits. The group, overall, clocks the not insignificant amount of US$12 billion.
Formosa Plastics competitors include DuPont and Sinopec Shanghai International.
As part of the privatisation and liberalisation moves introduced by the Taiwanese government, FP is also now allowed to produce oil: "Yunlin County, southern Taiwan, Aug. 30 (CNA) Formosa Plastics will produce an annual 6.4 million tons of diesel, 4.29 million tons of gasoline, and 3.81 million tons of naphtha starting September, a senior official of the Taiwan plastics giant said Wednesday."
Via is a part of this mighty Taiwanese conglomerate, as well as Nanya. As well as producing chipsets, it produces a prophetable range of microprocessors, with code names such as Samuel, Ezra, Joshua, and, perhaps, Isiah.
Nanya, details of which you can find on its Web site here, is not an insignificant player in the memory market. A couple of years back we reported on a big IBM OEM deal it secured. Unlike its Formosa Plastics partner Via, which is often described as a fabless and fanless firm, Nanya has fabs.
Nanya's product offerings include -- you guessed it -- DDR memory. And Via, completely coincidentally, was one of the leading lights that persuaded many mobo manufacturers to move away from Rambus to double data rate (DDR) memory.
While AMD is Via's friend because of DDR, and Via is Intel's friend because it owns so many old Exponential patents it got from S3, Via is not AMD's friend as far as CPUs are concerned -- there's a bitter war being fought out in the channel as AMD continues to fiercely discount its Duron chip family at the expense of Cyrix (formerly Centaur) chips.
So AMD -- also deeply committed to DDR -- had better get itself a good memory partner and quick, if it's going to be able to take the heat when Intel and Via both start increasing their rebate schemes real soon now.
The best bet, it occurs to one reader, is that AMD should jump right into bed with good old Micron - if it hasn't already done so, that is. That way, it can gavotte on... ®