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Dalo Harkin
11-08-2008, 12:30 AM
VIA is now focusing on x86 processors and the integrated motherboard market, rather than chipsets for third-party CPUs

Previously one of the best chipset makers for enthusiasts looking for high performance on a budget, VIA has said that it now sees no future in making chipsets for third parties such as Intel and AMD.

VIA’s vice president of corporate marketing in Taiwan, Richard Brown, explained that: ‘One of the main reasons we originally moved into the x86 processor business was because we believed that ultimately the third party chipset market would disappear, and we would need to have the capability to provide a complete platform.’

‘That has indeed come to pass,’ said Brown. He also added that ‘Intel provides the vast majority of chipsets for its processors and, following its purchase of ATI, AMD is also moving very quickly in the same direction.’

Rumours about VIA quitting the chipset business started to surface towards the end of last year, when DigiTimes alleged that the former president and general manager of VIA’s platform business, Chewei Lin, planned to resign and take 40 VIA chipset technicians over to ASMedia, a subsidiary of Asustek.

VIA’s previously had a rocky relationship with Intel over its third-party chipsets. Back in 2001, VIA released the Apollo P4X266 chipset, which brought DDR memory support to the Pentium 4, despite not having a license from Intel. To avoid the wrath of Intel, motherboard makers produced boards based on the chipset using VIA’s name rather than their own brands.

Brown commenting on VIA’s relationship with Intel saying it hadn't recovered since then, and he replied: ‘The only way I can answer that is to say that VIA and Intel are direct competitors in a very tough market. Having said that, we do have a great deal of respect for Intel not just as a competitor but also for the huge contribution they have made in driving the development of the PC industry.‘

Has VIA made the right decision, or is there still a place for third-party chipset manufacturers in the business? What's more, where does this leave other chipset makers such as SiS?.