AMD

Chris Nuttall

Pat Gelsinger tagged his Monday blog post “awesome”, although he was probably referring to the Xeon 5500 server processor, formerly known as Nehalem, rather than his own prose.

The head of Intel’s Digital Enterprise Group also used the word “spectacular” several times during his presentation at the launch of the 5500 at Intel headquarters. It was Intel’s best ever piece of engineering, he said, and the most important server product since the Pentium Pro in 1995. Read more >>

  • Cisco‘s open secret is a secret no more. After weeks of rumours speculating as much, the networking equipment powerhouse is entering the server market, posing a potential threat to IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Dell and Sun. Servers are lower-margin products, but analysts say Cisco will be able to charge more by offering bundled products.
  • Apple is unveiling new iPhone software on Tuesday. Watchers don’t expect multimedia text messaging, but other desired features, including copy and pasting and integrated contact books, seem likely. Don’t expect an appearance from Apple chief executive Steve Jobs, who remains on medical leave, or the debut of Apple’s rumoured 10-inch touchscreen tablet.

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  • Faced with industry-wide overcapacity, Taiwan announced it was restructuring the nation’s memory chip companies and creating a new government-backed group. The move comes two days after AMD and Abu Dhabi investors created a new company to take on the Taiwanese. Demand for chips is falling precipitously as consumers and companies cut spending on computers, cameras and mobile phones.
  • Although there is evidence that gamers are growing tired of music games such as Activison‘s Guitar Hero, one title may revive the genre. “The Beatles: Rock Band” will ship in September, and is an almost guaranteed blockbuster for the companies behind Rock Band, which include Electronic Arts, Viacom‘s MTV and Harmonix. The Beatles, who have sold more than 600m albums worldwide, have rarely licensed their music.

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  • After more than 40 years, a first from Intel: the leading semiconductor company announced that it would outsource the manufacturing of some of its chips. The unprecedented agreement with Taiwan’s TSMC shows how Intel is adjusting its manufacturing and business model as the Atom processor starts to play a bigger part in its future. While the US company will still make the low-cost chips for netbook computers itself, it said that TSMC’s relationships with device makers would help the technology find its way into a much wider range of smartphones and other gadgets.

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Chris Nuttall

If the daily bad news about semiconductors continues much longer, Silicon Valley may shrink to a gulch.

The headlines were unrelentingly dismal on Tuesday as the industry reeled from collapsing demand.

Consider these lowlights: Read more >>