Will AMD emulate Intel's Centrino strategy?

The ongoing tussle between chip makers AMD and Intel reminds us of a chihuahua chewing on your ankle: It will not bring you down, but it is an irritant which just will not let go. The acquisition by AMD of Canadian graphic chip maker ATI for $5.4 billion is another indication that AMD is not going to let go.

The question in wireless circles is whether or not this move by AMD is a hint that the company is about to emulate its rival's Centrino strategy by next acquiring a small wireless vendor. Just imagine what Broadcom and Atheros will have to contend with in case AMD joins Intel to bundle a processor, chip set and WiFi card and offer it to laptop and PC manufacturers. Dirk Meyer, AMD's president and CEO, said that companies such as Broadcom have nothing to worry about as AMD had no intention of emulating Intel: "We're not going to [emulate the Centrino approach]... The strength of our approach is for customers to have access to best of breed components... We don't see the communications controller needing to be as intimately tied to the processor as the graphics and video inside a computer."

And yet, and yet. Some analysts point out that it would be sensible for AMD to buy a small wireless vendor. Atheros and Broadcom would be too expensive, but an ideal candidate would be Airgo: It is small enough and, hence, less expensive, and it is the pioneer of the MIMO technology, which would be at the heart of the emerging 802.11n standard.

For more on AMD's likely wireless plans:
- read Mark Hachman's PCWorld report
- also see Dylan Bowman's ITPTechnology report