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Special report: More than a Tiny blow

AMD is laughing after fall of big Intel buyer

Intel looks to be the loser after Tiny's demise. Tiny was an Intel-only manufacturer for most of its lifetime, whereas Time remains AMD's biggest customer in the UK. Now that Time has taken over the Tiny brand, Intel has taken a blow.

Time plans to keep the Tiny brand going, at least in name, but it seems inevitable that many Tiny machines will no longer have an Intel inside. Colin Middlemiss, spokesman for Time, confirmed that 'some' of the new Tiny-branded PCs will have AMD processors in them.

Tiny, which initially only used Intel processors, briefly flirted with AMD in September 2000, but phased out all AMD products by July 2001 to resume its exclusive relationship with Intel.

Currently, only 15 percent of Time's PCs have Intel processors in them, but Middlemiss would not say whether this will be the same for the new Tiny units. "There are many decisions yet to be taken," he told PC Advisor.

Industry insiders believe that the company created by the takeover will be a major force in the UK PC market.

"In theory the combined Tiny/Time partnership will be a significant player in the home PC market," acknowledged Con Mallon, Packard Bell's country manager for UK and Ireland. Packard Bell, which only sells its products in Dixon's Group Stores, may find this new company challenging for its business in the near future.

Intel would not comment on what Tiny's takeover might mean to Intel.

When asked if Intel would attempt to build upon its relationship with Time, Intel stuck with an anodyne: "We are always keen to work with as many customers as possible and to offer them the best products."

Whether Time's acquisition of Tiny has any great effect on the battle between Intel and AMD in the UK remains to be seen. Ranjit Atwal of research firm Gartner Dataquest believes it will. "It's going to have some impact," he told PC Advisor.

"Of course it will make no difference on a global level," said Jason Kao, UK manager of AsusTek Computers. "But so many consumer PCs in the UK have AMD processors, Tiny was important to Intel in the UK."

According to statistics from research firm IDC, more than eight in 10 machines sold in the UK are powered by Intel chips. AMD's processors are in 12 percent of the machines sold, with other manufacturers accounting for the other three percent.

Richard Baker, a marketing manager for AMD, said that Time's takeover of Tiny was "certainly good news for AMD". He added that he was hopeful that AMD would take business away from Intel as a consequence.

When questioned as to how much of a blow this has dealt to Intel in terms of the UK market, he said he thinks it must be "highly embarrassing for Intel", particularly as the chip firm had made such a big issue of Tiny's decision to return to an exclusive relationship.

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