Friday, November 11, 2005

INTEL is losing big time in China

Developing countries have usually been the dumping ground of second class US high-tech companies such as INTEL. In US retail market, AMD's combined notebook and desktop market share surpassd INTEL in Oct 2005. While in US, more people are aware of the underdog status of INTEL, and choose the advanced AMD technology instead, people in places in China and India still prefer INTEL due to brand recognition. INTEL is keenly aware of this.

However, the Chinese are no dummies, they actually test their CPUs and even break them up to see what is really inside. One Chinese man recently ran some tests on his INTEL notebook and found out it could only run at 800MHZ. Then a Chinese IT web site, www.it168.com, disovered there are large quantities of INTEL "counterfeit" mobile CPUs made by INTEL itself. INTEL first denied the existence of such "counterfeit" CPUs, but the review site claimed that the techniques in making these "counterfeit" CPUs are too sophisticated and only INTEL can do it. INTEL later admitted that some ODMs requested such CPUs.

The INTEL techniques, according to the Chinese web site, are the following:
1) Remarking: Use INTEL engineering samples and remark them as production after polishing
2) Repacking: take a uFCBGA packed CPU and repack it as uFCPGA

For pictures of the CPUs under microscope, look here.

A leading Chinese web portal, SOHU.COM dedicated a whole page to this incident, and INTEL is stripped naked under the sun. Chinese take ethics very seriously, expect INTEL to lose big time there.

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