February 8, 2006 12:59 PM PST

When Intel calls, Skype listens

The latest version of Skype's Internet-calling software can host up to 10 users on a conference call, but only if your PC has a dual-core processor from Intel, Skype and Intel announced Wednesday.

Intel's Core Duo and Pentium D processors have been designated the mass conference-calling processor of choice for Skype 2.0, launched last month. The limit will remain at five callers for PCs using single-core chips and Advanced Micro Devices' dual-core Athlon 64 chip, which some tests have shown outperforms Intel's dual-core chip.

Skype's software allows PC users to make free voice calls to other Skype users over the Internet and to call cell phones and landlines for a fee.

Dual-core processors are basically two processing engines crammed onto a single piece of silicon. The individual processor cores tend to run slower than the clock speeds achieved by single-core chips, but a dual-core chip excels when confronted with two demanding tasks at once, such as scanning a PC for viruses while decoding a video stream.

Despite both AMD and Intel releasing dual-core chips to the market last May, Skype 2.0 software will allow 10-way conference calls only if it detects code specific to Intel's chips when the PC boots, said Rob Crooke, vice president of Intel's Business Client Group.

Intel approached Skype with its plan to optimize code on its chips for Skype's software so users would have a good experience while hosting a multiperson conference call, Crooke said. In recent years, Intel has increasingly touted its software development resources as a competitive advantage over AMD, which also trails Intel in the marketing budget category.

Other processors based on the x86 instruction set, such as AMD's chips or Via's, obviously will not come with the same optimized code found on Intel's chips. Intel and Skype announced a partnership at the Fall Intel Developer Forum last August to make sure Skype's products would run well on Intel's chips.

VoIP (voice over Internet Protocol) conference calls are a compute-intensive undertaking. Skype's minimum system requirement of a 400MHz processor applies only to a single person-to-person VoIP call. Adding multiple users to that connection requires the PC to simultaneously host multiple sessions with those new users, which strains the processor, a Skype representative said.

By choosing to work exclusively with Intel, Skype is excluding technology that is arguably more powerful than Intel's. A series of benchmark tests conducted last year by Tom's Hardware gave an overall performance edge to AMD's dual-core chips but rated Intel's dual-core chips better in some multitasking situations.

AMD is gaining some market share at Intel's expense. Intel still dominates the market for desktop and notebook processors, but AMD took several points of market share from Intel in the fourth quarter, according to Mercury Research and Current Analysis.

Skype did extensive performance testing before releasing this feature for Intel's chips, said Henry Gomez, general manager of Skype's North American operations. He declined to comment on whether the company tested Intel's dual-core chips against AMD's dual-core chips, but said Skype was very satisfied with the performance of the Intel chips.

The 10-way calling feature will be exclusive to Intel's chips for a limited time, Gomez said. Skype is not releasing the time frame for the expiration of the exclusive agreement, he said.

An AMD representative did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

See more CNET content tagged:
Skype, dual-core processor, conference call, Intel, AMD

91 comments

Join the conversation!
Add your comment
Blatant pro-Intel bias
That kind of pro-Intel bias means I'll never be a Skype customer. I've only used AMD for years and this just screams discrimination to me. I guess Skype doesn't need my business.
Posted by (5 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I know
AMD ruleZ. They da BomB yo & I aint uzin' no product that works
better on Intel's procs than AMD's
Posted by X=0 (52 comments )
Link Flag
U hav it bass ackwards slick.
Intel approached Skype and probably funded the project.
Skype did not approach Intel, and more than likely did not fund the
project.
The real question to ask yourself is this:
Why isn't AMD approaching companies and funding projects to
optimize software for AMD chips?

Oh, not enough $$.
Posted by X=0 (52 comments )
Link Flag
Blatant pro-Intel bias
That kind of pro-Intel bias means I'll never be a Skype customer. I've only used AMD for years and this just screams discrimination to me. I guess Skype doesn't need my business.
Posted by (5 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I know
AMD ruleZ. They da BomB yo & I aint uzin' no product that works
better on Intel's procs than AMD's
Posted by X=0 (52 comments )
Link Flag
U hav it bass ackwards slick.
Intel approached Skype and probably funded the project.
Skype did not approach Intel, and more than likely did not fund the
project.
The real question to ask yourself is this:
Why isn't AMD approaching companies and funding projects to
optimize software for AMD chips?

Oh, not enough $$.
Posted by X=0 (52 comments )
Link Flag
This is BS
I'll be looking at the Skype alternatives now, this is stupid.
Posted by CentrOS (126 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Good luck
Obviously, you desperately need to be able to make 10-person conference calls and so are willing to stop using a brilliant product to make a point, yeah?

It is to laugh.

I prefer AMD processors myself, but to boycott a product because Intel has a solid marketing arm and AMD hasn't got that in place yet is just silly.
Posted by Trane Francks (936 comments )
Link Flag
This is BS
I'll be looking at the Skype alternatives now, this is stupid.
Posted by CentrOS (126 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Good luck
Obviously, you desperately need to be able to make 10-person conference calls and so are willing to stop using a brilliant product to make a point, yeah?

It is to laugh.

I prefer AMD processors myself, but to boycott a product because Intel has a solid marketing arm and AMD hasn't got that in place yet is just silly.
Posted by Trane Francks (936 comments )
Link Flag
Skype lost me.
I don't have anything against Intel or Skype, but as a loyal AMD user I can not in good faith support a company that puts more focus on Intel in such a blatent way. Although I don't control what my family uses for software I can say that many of them look to me for assistance when choosing software and I will do my best to talk them out of using Skype until Skype shows as much support for AMD as they do Intel.

If Skype chooses to show the same amount of support for AMD as they do for Intel then I have no problem using their software.

For those of you who feel the same way I suggest going over to Skypes website and e-mailing them your feelings.
Posted by System Tyrant (1453 comments )
Reply Link Flag
It's not support of INTEL
It's deliberate and willful exclusion of AMD. I am sure folks will hack up Skype 2.0, remove those bogus INTEL checks and find they can handle 20 conference calls on AMD64...
Posted by sharikou (106 comments )
Link Flag
Umm
It's not Skype that did this. Intel has more resources to put toward
making their product work better with Skype. I'm sure this project
cost Skype nothing or close to nothing.
Maybe you should email AMD and tell them to put some effort/
resources into optimizing for Skype.
Posted by X=0 (52 comments )
Link Flag
Skype lost me.
I don't have anything against Intel or Skype, but as a loyal AMD user I can not in good faith support a company that puts more focus on Intel in such a blatent way. Although I don't control what my family uses for software I can say that many of them look to me for assistance when choosing software and I will do my best to talk them out of using Skype until Skype shows as much support for AMD as they do Intel.

If Skype chooses to show the same amount of support for AMD as they do for Intel then I have no problem using their software.

For those of you who feel the same way I suggest going over to Skypes website and e-mailing them your feelings.
Posted by System Tyrant (1453 comments )
Reply Link Flag
It's not support of INTEL
It's deliberate and willful exclusion of AMD. I am sure folks will hack up Skype 2.0, remove those bogus INTEL checks and find they can handle 20 conference calls on AMD64...
Posted by sharikou (106 comments )
Link Flag
Umm
It's not Skype that did this. Intel has more resources to put toward
making their product work better with Skype. I'm sure this project
cost Skype nothing or close to nothing.
Maybe you should email AMD and tell them to put some effort/
resources into optimizing for Skype.
Posted by X=0 (52 comments )
Link Flag
Lawyers look into this
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.amd.com/breakfree" target="_newWindow">http://www.amd.com/breakfree</a>
Posted by sharikou (106 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Lawyers look into this
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.amd.com/breakfree" target="_newWindow">http://www.amd.com/breakfree</a>
Posted by sharikou (106 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Desperate...
When Intel and Skype collude to discriminate against AMD, it's a sorry statement for Intel. Now that AMD beats the pants off Intel's chips, Intel has to compete in a sneaky below the belt manner like this.
Posted by jbc94523 (15 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Desperate...
When Intel and Skype collude to discriminate against AMD, it's a sorry statement for Intel. Now that AMD beats the pants off Intel's chips, Intel has to compete in a sneaky below the belt manner like this.
Posted by jbc94523 (15 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Dutch hores are so cheap
It's a shame eBay paid so much money for these cheapo ....

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://sharikou.blogspot.com/" target="_newWindow">http://sharikou.blogspot.com/</a>
Posted by sharikou (106 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Dutch hores are so cheap
It's a shame eBay paid so much money for these cheapo ....

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://sharikou.blogspot.com/" target="_newWindow">http://sharikou.blogspot.com/</a>
Posted by sharikou (106 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Skype Software is Broken
They want to play with fire. I got a good one for them! Everyone I give advice to will hear Skype Software is Broken, don't even bother using it.

They will not be welcome on my WISP either. Since I use an AMD processor on my Microtik, for some reason, Skype can't pass through my router now. Hmmm, how about that,
Their software must be broken....
Posted by Spectel (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Skype Software is Broken
They want to play with fire. I got a good one for them! Everyone I give advice to will hear Skype Software is Broken, don't even bother using it.

They will not be welcome on my WISP either. Since I use an AMD processor on my Microtik, for some reason, Skype can't pass through my router now. Hmmm, how about that,
Their software must be broken....
Posted by Spectel (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I'm not sure that's right
Intel recently released the core duo (Yonah core)with a new architecture. How did Tom's Hardware do a benchmark on it a year ago when Intel had barely released the Smithfield cores? Also if the architecture is optimised for a certain software shouldn't it be able to handle a higher load?
Posted by Applepye (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
INTEL new architecture is pentium III
wake up folks. INTEL is deceiving all of us.
core duo is pentium III + deeper sleep technology, that is it!

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://sharikou.blogspot.com/2006/02/intel-2-x-32-64.html" target="_newWindow">http://sharikou.blogspot.com/2006/02/intel-2-x-32-64.html</a>
Posted by sharikou (106 comments )
Link Flag
I'm not sure that's right
Intel recently released the core duo (Yonah core)with a new architecture. How did Tom's Hardware do a benchmark on it a year ago when Intel had barely released the Smithfield cores? Also if the architecture is optimised for a certain software shouldn't it be able to handle a higher load?
Posted by Applepye (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
INTEL new architecture is pentium III
wake up folks. INTEL is deceiving all of us.
core duo is pentium III + deeper sleep technology, that is it!

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://sharikou.blogspot.com/2006/02/intel-2-x-32-64.html" target="_newWindow">http://sharikou.blogspot.com/2006/02/intel-2-x-32-64.html</a>
Posted by sharikou (106 comments )
Link Flag
Morons, this is exactly what the consumers were thinking of...
when the TPC module was announced. It just goes on to prove that
corporate bas***** would do something like this.

Think of a consumer buying a laptop; what are all the things that
one has to take into account before buying it? Now, add this!
Guys, get a clue; use TPC for the kind of things that it's supposed
to.
Posted by S R (85 comments )
Reply Link Flag
if a consumer
If a consumer only has to know DUAL CORE = runs Skype, Office, Quake, etc. faster. .then you have simplified the consumer's buying decision.

Personally I think this is smart. . .Intel can pay companies to update their software to support the Intel chipset (and lock out AMD upgrades). Why not?
Posted by csgraber (12 comments )
Link Flag
Morons, this is exactly what the consumers were thinking of...
when the TPC module was announced. It just goes on to prove that
corporate bas***** would do something like this.

Think of a consumer buying a laptop; what are all the things that
one has to take into account before buying it? Now, add this!
Guys, get a clue; use TPC for the kind of things that it's supposed
to.
Posted by S R (85 comments )
Reply Link Flag
if a consumer
If a consumer only has to know DUAL CORE = runs Skype, Office, Quake, etc. faster. .then you have simplified the consumer's buying decision.

Personally I think this is smart. . .Intel can pay companies to update their software to support the Intel chipset (and lock out AMD upgrades). Why not?
Posted by csgraber (12 comments )
Link Flag
Sky High Hype
As a soon to be former skype user, do they think we're stupid? I had thought they were on the ball since they offered skype on Windows, Mac and Linux. What's next, support for only one OS? Since all of the gee-whiz new features are only found on the Windows version, it's not hard to imagine which OS skype would pick.

I've always liked AMD chips and didn't mind intel inside. If intel has to stoop to these kind of tactics to sell their chips I have to wonder about them. Maybe intel thinks this is how to jump on the telecom bandwagon.

Maybe skype is short for sky high hype.
Posted by random-rambler (11 comments )
Reply Link Flag
INTEL owns America and its government
INTEL is above law folks, money is everything in US.


<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://sharikou.blogspot.com/2006/02/beware-of-intels-tricks.html" target="_newWindow">http://sharikou.blogspot.com/2006/02/beware-of-intels-tricks.html</a>

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.geek.com/news/geeknews/2006Jan/bch20060208034665.htm" target="_newWindow">http://www.geek.com/news/geeknews/2006Jan/bch20060208034665.htm</a>
Posted by sharikou (106 comments )
Link Flag
Sky High Hype
As a soon to be former skype user, do they think we're stupid? I had thought they were on the ball since they offered skype on Windows, Mac and Linux. What's next, support for only one OS? Since all of the gee-whiz new features are only found on the Windows version, it's not hard to imagine which OS skype would pick.

I've always liked AMD chips and didn't mind intel inside. If intel has to stoop to these kind of tactics to sell their chips I have to wonder about them. Maybe intel thinks this is how to jump on the telecom bandwagon.

Maybe skype is short for sky high hype.
Posted by random-rambler (11 comments )
Reply Link Flag
INTEL owns America and its government
INTEL is above law folks, money is everything in US.


<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://sharikou.blogspot.com/2006/02/beware-of-intels-tricks.html" target="_newWindow">http://sharikou.blogspot.com/2006/02/beware-of-intels-tricks.html</a>

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.geek.com/news/geeknews/2006Jan/bch20060208034665.htm" target="_newWindow">http://www.geek.com/news/geeknews/2006Jan/bch20060208034665.htm</a>
Posted by sharikou (106 comments )
Link Flag
well i now know what not to by intel/skype
skype=ripoff, someone make an open source one and crush skype now, then some one smack intel. im suprised amd hasnt won their lawsuit yet.
Posted by sixgod (3 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Skype = ripoff exactly how?
Spoken like somebody who has never actually used the product. I use Skype on Linux to make PC-to-PC and PC-to-phone (SkypeOut) calls on a regular basis. It works beautifully and has cut the cost of my calls considerably.

There's nothing ripoff about it, Mr. Open Source.
Posted by Trane Francks (936 comments )
Link Flag
well i now know what not to by intel/skype
skype=ripoff, someone make an open source one and crush skype now, then some one smack intel. im suprised amd hasnt won their lawsuit yet.
Posted by sixgod (3 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Skype = ripoff exactly how?
Spoken like somebody who has never actually used the product. I use Skype on Linux to make PC-to-PC and PC-to-phone (SkypeOut) calls on a regular basis. It works beautifully and has cut the cost of my calls considerably.

There's nothing ripoff about it, Mr. Open Source.
Posted by Trane Francks (936 comments )
Link Flag
great way to alienate %60 of customers
while skype is pandering to intel, it's alienating some of it most devoted pc clients by not treating both platforms equally.
Posted by superdave132 (19 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Less then 20% of its customers
Intel sells 80-85% of the processors in the global pc market making 90% of its revenue. Amd, then, is somewhere between 20-0 (I don't know exactly) because it shares that bottom 20 with Cyrix, IBM, etc.

I would not argue that a "PC enthusisast" is more likely to buy AMD . . . BUT. . . 1) they are a small share of the market 2) they do not reflect corporate buying of pc(s).
Posted by csgraber (12 comments )
Link Flag
great way to alienate %60 of customers
while skype is pandering to intel, it's alienating some of it most devoted pc clients by not treating both platforms equally.
Posted by superdave132 (19 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Less then 20% of its customers
Intel sells 80-85% of the processors in the global pc market making 90% of its revenue. Amd, then, is somewhere between 20-0 (I don't know exactly) because it shares that bottom 20 with Cyrix, IBM, etc.

I would not argue that a "PC enthusisast" is more likely to buy AMD . . . BUT. . . 1) they are a small share of the market 2) they do not reflect corporate buying of pc(s).
Posted by csgraber (12 comments )
Link Flag
Did anyone notice the blatant AMD bias too?
cnet has done a huge disservice to their readers by their characterization of Intel. Yeah, Intel came up short in Tom's Hardware's benchmark, but that was a freakin' year ago! Helloooo!! there is a new product out, called Core Duo. It's not two CPU's slapped into one package like last year's stuff. It's two CPU's built on the same die, with a shared cache that trumps AMD's crossbar switch for inter-cpu communication. It is also a LAPTOP chip that almost holds its own, clock for clock, against AMD's DESKTOP chip! Just wait till the desktop version comes out. It'll blow away the competition, and that's probably why Skype picked Intel, and probably why Apple did too. Steve Jobs isn't exactly a dummy when it comes to computers! So let's quit living in the past. Core Duo (yonah) is the latest stuff, and it's actually pretty good, and there's more coming too
Posted by cubicleslave (5 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

Join the conversation

Add your comment

The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited. Click here to review our Terms of Use.

What's Hot

Discussions

Shared

RSS Feeds

Add headlines from CNET News to your homepage or feedreader.