What's the opposite of a fair weather friend? AMD may be about to find out, because today DigiTimes reported that Intel plans to ship entry-level processors to laptop manufacturers in June, easing the CPU shortage that finally let AMD establish itself in that market.
DigiTimes was clear in the report that Intel's processor shortage won't end in June--it simply won't be as severe as before. The company made similar claims in an April 26 conference call, during which it said the shortage wouldn't be resolved until at least the third quarter, with modest improvements starting in the second half of the year. The drought isn't over, but at least some rain clouds are starting to form.
This should be good news for laptop makers and, once Intel's production increases further still, other manufacturers. The ongoing CPU shortage has affected sales for much of the industry. Gartner and IDC both said in April that Intel was to blame for declining PC shipments, and because many consumers delayed system upgrades as a result of the shortage, component manufacturers have also suffered.
Those who couldn't (or wouldn't) wait for Intel to increase CPU production opted for AMD processors instead. That's why AMD's offerings finally made their way into Chromebooks, became more available in other laptops and gained market share among enthusiasts. The introduction of new processors likely helped AMD in those markets as well, of course.
AMD In Trouble?
What happens when those companies and consumers are no longer desperate? Anonymous industry sources reportedly told DigiTimes that AMD will lose some of its new friends. To quote the report: "With Intel expected to increase supply of processors for budget notebooks in June, brand vendors such as Dell, HP, and Lenovo are expected to step up placing orders with Intel rather than AMD, the sources said."
That all depends on how much Intel ups its production, though, and it would be strange if at least some manufacturers didn't continue to make products with AMD processors. If the shortage has any lesson to offer, it should be that relying on a single company for critical parts is probably ill-advised. Why settle for a single friend who might not always be around when someone else is actively looking for new buddies?