AMD says it's "ignoring" netbooks, will focus on ultraportables

It seemed earlier this week that AMD's new Conesus chips would take on Intel's dominant Atom platform in the netbook market, but it sounds like that was just wishful thinking -- according to CEO Dirk Meyer, the chipmaker is "ignoring the netbook platform" in favor machines "above that form factor." AMD says that it's seeing high return rates on netbooks, a phenomenon it's chalking up to an unsatisfactory user experience on smaller machines. Of course, that doesn't quite jive with the sales numbers being posted by Acer, ASUS, and HP -- and although return rates are indeed higher for Linux machines than for XP, we're puzzled as to why AMD cares about anything other than raw chip sales to OEMs, since we were under the impression that that's how AMD makes money. Of course, really smart companies don't just sell what people want, they convince people to want what they sell, and that seems to be AMD's tactic: it says that the higher-powered, dual-core Conesus with ATI RS780M graphics will deliver a full-featured user experience that more people will spring for, even if it's in a slightly larger package. We'll see if this strategy plays in the market -- while we'd love to see a machine like the Inspiron Mini 12 with some real horsepower in it, it's hard to argue with a $280 Atom-based Eee.