Monday, September 10, 2007

ATCA can survive Intel's departure

Intel Corp. sold off its single-board computer business to Radisys Corp., according to a report today in EE Times. In his blog, my colleague Loring Wirbel asks what impact this may have for the overall ATCA movement Intel helped spearhead and for Intel's credibility generally.

My sense is ATCA will do OK. As reported earlier it has taken much longer than most people thought for this market to come to fruition, a fact many attribute to the slow-moving nature of the comms business. You can also blame the resistance of OEMs to shift to a standard chassis. But this ship is launched and no doubt Intel will continue to provide some level of support to a movement which promises a broad homogenous market for its chips.

As for Intel's credibility, I understand the x86 giant has gone hot and cold on many initiatives in its past. But this move is one of the last shoes to fall in Intel's long restructuring to refocus on its computer business and back off from the many loss-making ventures in comms it launched back in the days before the dot-com bust when the company wanted to be in everything from network processors to data center outsourcing.

The fact is Intel has regained significant territory against its key competitor Advanced Micro Devices. Its 65nm Caneland chip is not far behind AMD's much vaunted Barcelona released today. And next week we will get an earful about Intel's first 45nm Penryn CPUs, leapfrogging AMD.

In the end, the ATCA community has less to fear from this news than the folks at AMD.

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