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Dell further clarifies how and where it's dropping AMD

Dell further clarifies how and where it's dropping AMD
Nilay Patel
Nilay Patel|February 8, 2008 7:54 PM

So we just got off the phone with Dell's reps, and they told us that Dell remains committed to AMD -- which has been their message for most of the day, following the graphic above popping up yesterday on Dell.com that said AMD machines were only available at retail. That's still pretty murky, so we pressed a little harder and got some more details:
  • It's not at all clear why the AMD graphic went up -- Dell's still trying to figure it out, but they've pulled it for now.
  • That said, AMD-powered consumer machines will only be in stores from now on, except for the Energy Star-compliant Inspiron D531 desktop and the soon-to-be-canceled Inspiron 1501 notebook.
  • AMD-powered business machines in the OptiPlex, Vostro, and Latitude lines will still be available online.
  • Dell is "sincere" when it says that this is all the result of trying to figure out the best product mix for consumers -- it's only been in retail since May, and it's trying to find "the best way to get products to people in the way people want them."
  • They wouldn't explain why consumers wouldn't want to continue to get AMD-powered machines online, but told us that "anything could happen." That seems pretty duplicitous to us, actually -- they've clearly taken choices away from their customers with this move, and trying to patch things up with vague future possibilities doesn't change that.
  • The Inspiron 1526 laptop was specifically cited as proof of Dell's commitment to AMD, since it's a mainstream laptop that's basically the same as the Intel-based 1525. Of course, it's almost impossible to find a 1526 for under $800, while the 1525 starts at $499; wait, isn't AMD supposed to be the budget option?
  • Dell is selling AMD machines in 10,000 stores worldwide, which they also cited as proof of their commitment. However, when you search for AMD models like the 1526 on Dell.com (cap below), there's zero information available, which doesn't seem like real commitment to us -- but what do we know?

  • We asked if Dell would ever use a more powerful AMD chip like the Phenoms, and got a "no comment."
  • Of the laptops being pulled from the Dell site, we were told that "we're talking about one desktop and two laptops here," which seems like a pretty dismissive way to downplay what's clearly a net negative for Dell's customers and a totally bungled product reshuffle.
So that's that -- we're still half-convinced that something deep went down yesterday, but for now all you really need to know is that Dell basically botched the execution in deciding that AMD will be de-emphasized and made part of its lower-end offline sales. Maybe things will change if AMD ever gets its house back in order, but we'll see how that plays out in the future.