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Gateway Delays Server Shipments

As a born-again Gateway Computer continues on its quest to return to profitability by next year, one way it hopes to do so is by going against the herd.

The company has done as much this week when it opted to delay shipments of its servers with the new Intel E7520 and E7350 chipsets, code-named Lindenhurst, which are designed to provide improved I/O, memory and bus technologies on the new Xeon processors released in June. Gateway rivals Dell, HP and IBM moved new Xeon servers out the door Monday in tandem. Also defying its rival server vendors, Gateway, like Dell, is reticent to follow their lead in jumping into the 64-bit AMD Opteron camp, either, despite AMD's best efforts, Gateway officials told VARBusiness.

It is not the wrath of Intel that has kept Gateway from embracing Opteron, officials insist, pointing out that the company already offers AMD-based PCs. Rather, the company is not convinced there's a big enough market for Opteron at this juncture. At a time when the company is still in the red, it can ill afford to place any risky bets, says Tim Diefenthaler, Gateway's director of enterprise and server products.

Right now, Opteron's key niche is high-performance computing and specialized niche solutions, Diefenthaler says. Until there is evidence of growing use for horizontal solutions suited for midsize enterprises with 2,500 seats and fewer, Gateway doesn't plan on rolling out Opteron-based products. "If AMD can grow some share on the business side, there's certainly an opportunity for us," Diefenthaler says.

Now that Microsoft's 64-bit extensions, which were expected to ship next quarter, will likely not ship until next year, the urgency has lessened. But it's not for lack of trying. AMD has persistently tried to convince Gateway to roll out an Opteron-based server. "They have a good sales pitch, they say, 'Look, Intel gives Dell the [MDF] money, Dell grows market share. Where's your market share going?' " Diefenthaler says, noting he is monitoring the progress of Opteron and is open to revisiting the issue. "We're more than willing to talk to them about possibilities."

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