25 April 2002 Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) has said that Microsoft will tune its Windows operating system to run on AMD’s 64-bit Hammer chips. The news comes just days after AMD CEO Jerry Sanders submitted evidence in favour of Microsoft in the long-running anti-trust case.
Winning Microsoft’s support is crucial to attempts by the microprocessor maker to break into the corporate market. Without it, AMD will face an uphill struggle ensuring that Microsoft operating systems perform as well on its platform as Intel’s.
AMD recently won support for its technology from the open source community. German Linux operating system vendor SuSE has been tuning the next major release of Linux to support AMD’s next generation of microprocessors.
The microprocessor maker has made significant in-roads into Intel’s market share in the PC market in recent years. AMD now hopes to take on Intel in the more profitable server market with its Opteron chip, due for release in the first half of 2003.
AMD’s Hammer chips differ from rival Intel’s 64-bit microprocessors in that they also support current 32-bit code. This means that applications that run on Intel Pentium 4 or AMD Athlon 32-bit machines will also run on 64-bit Hammer-based machines – a key selling point of AMD’s new architecture, which Intel cannot match.
However, breaking into the high-margin corporate server business, considered vital for AMD’s financial health, will be tough. Analysts expect AMD’s chips will gain acceptance more quickly within the desktop market.
Intel is also believed to be secretly developing a new chip technology, code-named Yamhill. This is intended to improve the backwards compatibility of its 64-bit Itanium microprocessors with its 32-bit chips. This follows distinctly disappointing sales of Itanium.