Sorry Microsoft: AMD cheats on Windows, plans a fling with Chrome and Android

Pair of HP Chromebooks

AMD is making quite a name for itself outside of the Windows world all of a sudden. Long a provider of processors specifically for PCs, the company will now be powering the next-generation game consoles from Microsoft and Sony. But the long-term Windows relationship is fraying even more: AMD is expanding options to include support for Google Android and Chrome devices.

Transformer Prime: the hottest Android tablet yet? ThumbnailSpeaking to PC World at the Computex event in Taipei on Wednesday, Lisa Su, senior vice president and general manager of global business units at AMD said, “We are very committed to Windows 8; we think it’s a great operating system, but we also see a market for Android and Chrome developing as well.” I’m not sure what took AMD so long to see this market developing: Android is used on more mobile devices than any other platform and Google’s Chrome browser is used the most on desktops and laptops.

Alluding to tablets and Chromebooks, Su said Android and Chrome “tend to be in the entry form factors—the tablets, the low-end clamshells.” That suggests AMD-powered Android tablets, likely with and without keyboard docks, as well as the potential for relatively low-cost Chromebooks.

AMD has a much smaller market share than Intel in processors so I wouldn’t expect the company to see a huge revenue or share boost from this development. Intel only this week got its silicon in Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 3, mainly because Android devices have long run on ARM-based chips. AMD will face the same struggle. And it will have a battle in the Chromebook market as well, since Intel powers most of those devices.

Nexus 10 tabletRegardless of the tangible impact to AMD, there’s an intangible theme here that suggests Google is continuing to make strides in ousting Microsoft as the computing thought leader. Simply put: Every Chromebook or Android tablet sold is one less Windows or Windows RT license fee that Microsoft gets. And adoption of these mobile devices from Google is up while traditional PC sales are stagnant at best. The times, they are a-changing…. just ask AMD.

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