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All deals are off between ASUS and Gigabyte
If you can't beat 'em, join 'em ... then try to beat 'em again

Gigabyte made top headlines in the fall of last year when it announced a partnership with long-time rival ASUS. In the partnership, it was decided that a new joint company would be formed and that Gigabyte would own a 51% stake in the venture while ASUS takes on the remaining 49%. Both companies officially announced the partnership on December 7th, calling the new company Gigabyte United.

What interested most industry analysts were both the possibilities and ramifications of a partnership between the two large conglomerates. No details had been revealed at the time of how the partnership would affect sales and manufacturing, or when and where a particular brand would be used.

This week during a press conference in Taiwan the joint venture between ASUS and Gigabyte was officially dissolved. Both companies this week announced that the partnership in Gigabyte United was no longer, and while the branding and company would still be there, the two companies would no longer keep the partnership. DailyTech had the opportunity to sit down with Tomas Lee, marketing manager for Gigabyte, and ask a few questions concerning the direction and future of Gigabyte United.

According to Lee, many thought that ASUS was the one that pulled out of the partnership, but in fact it was Gigabyte that decided to call off the partnership. "ASUS really wanted this alliance but it's us that's pulling out. I think ultimately this will benefit Gigabyte in the long run," said Lee. It appears that Gigabyte analyzed its situation in the partnership, and came to the conclusion its stock would be affected negatively and that its motherboard and VGA business would have long term drawbacks with a 49% ownership by ASUS. "Gigabyte would have 49% less revenue from motherboard and VGA sales. For the amount that ASUS invested in, it didn't seem justified," said Lee.

ASUS commented briefly on Gigabyte's decision and said that it respects it. Some reports claimed that ASUS would not be paying any penalties for breaking off the agreement, but as Lee indicated, ASUS was the one who preferred to keep the relationship going. For the long term, it is very possible that the two companies may cooperate again, but for now both will operate independently of each other. "We tried to keep the news to a minimum. We aren't talking to each other at the moment," said Lee.

Lee mentioned to DailyTech that the two companies will continue to compete with each other like they have always been doing. In fact, Lee mentioned that it believes the right decision was made, allowing it to compete head on with ASUS in the channel.

"We broke the relationship. Why should we sell half of our business to ASUS for that little money? Potentially, we can take on ASUS in the channel business," expressed Lee.

Clearly Gigabyte feels that it will gain a lot more competing with ASUS than to give half of its business away for NT$8 billion-- approximately $244 million USD.

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My experience
By Hakuryu on 3/25/2007 5:27:27 PM , Rating: 2
I was a long time Asus customer,and until recently owned pretty much exclusively only Asus motherboards. My last one, the P4S800 was a nightmare of problems that no amount of research or Asus support could help. Took about 3 days of screwing around to get it to post, and it would randonly not boot, and require 4-8 resets to just startup.

After reading info on the Gigabyte DS3 at Anandtech and other sites, and checking customer reviews, I decided to try it. Had the complete system up and running in under a hour with no problems whatsoever.

Now it could be just issues with hardware compatibility between my 2 rigs, but I'd rather stay with the one that worked off the bat, and I see myself buying Gigabyte motherboards in the future. I don't blame them at all for dissolving the deal with Asus, because from what I've seen is that most people find Gigabyte boards better than Asus.

RE: My experience
By rbfowler9 on 3/25/2007 6:46:55 PM , Rating: 4
While I still use ASUS motherboards in my home PCs, I couldn't agree more with Hakuryu and Beenthere.
Working as a systems integrator in the last 5 years, I've seen an exponential rise in ASUS RMA and DOA levels -- sometimes up to 15-20 defective boards in batches of 100. We have employed ASUS products in the past for their good reliability and brand recognition with the public, but since their quality levels went downhill we switched to Gigabyte boards and never looked back.

RE: My experience
By SunAngel on 3/25/07, Rating: -1
RE: My experience
By tuteja1986 on 3/26/2007 12:08:17 AM , Rating: 2
Well gigabyte has changed over the last 2 years. They now use all solid capacitor , Dual/Quad Bios , 6/12 phase power , protecting stuff like choke points and even going as far to protect the USB port with fuse. To me gigabyte provides really high quality boards at low-mid range price $125. Gigabyte DS3P has everything but the cooling pipe of DQ6 has but cost few dollars extra than DS3.

RE: My experience
By Oregonian2 on 3/27/2007 3:50:03 AM , Rating: 2
I went and got the DQ6 as well as one of the nVidia 7600GT Gigabyte fanless video cards. That's two less fans in this system. Good stuff. Anyway, they're my brand du jour for the time being.

P.S. - Think there's other differences from the DS3, but don't recall what they were.

RE: My experience
By Hare on 3/26/2007 8:56:44 AM , Rating: 1
ABIT, but their board features don't make sense sometimes. For example, one of their boards only have USB, Audio, and a LAN ports. Where is the PS/S, serial, parallel, and IEEE ports?

Most of the boards have IEEE. Who on earth needs serial/paraller ports? It's 2007.

I'm sure there are few people that actually need them but for 98% they are absolutely useless. I'm glad we are finally seeing boards without legacy clutter.

RE: My experience
By aos007 on 3/26/2007 2:49:49 PM , Rating: 3
I need them. And I wish USB wasn't as successful. There are often problems with keyboards and especially mice because of having 10+ USB devices all sharing the same bandwidth and - more importantly - interrupt. A dedicated mouse port like we used to have was better. If transfer to iPod stutters while it's beeing sync'ed, that's fine. If the mouse stutters, it is NOT. Yet, that's what happens occasionally. It's been, what, 8-9 years, and STILL they haven't sorted out issues. Doesn't look they will ever.

Parallel ports are useful for people that do microcontroller programming or interfacing with electronics. Why should I spent extra $100+ or more to get new equipment when existing ports work fine? Not only that, parallel (and serial) ports are very simple, well defined interfaces that are easy to work with and require very little extra electronics. USB on the other hand is a very complicated interface that to this day people have trouble implementing properly and is not very reliable. Just because something is old doesn't make it obsolete or inferior.

RE: My experience
By Etsp on 3/26/2007 11:46:14 PM , Rating: 2
On my motherboard, I have two USB Host Controllers, each having its own bandwidth and IRQ, one being 22, one being 23. One controller feeds some ports, the other feeds the rest. Device manager will tell you all you need to know about whether or not your Ipod is sharing an Irq with your mouse. Let me let you in on a little secret....if your mouse is stuttering, it's not a problem with bandwidth on a USB port. I have my Logitech mx700 plugged into my USB 1.1 port on my Keyboard, and I don't experience any stutter from it.

You are right that there will always be legacy applications for legacy ports... but, don't blame the industry for your reluctance to use more complex, yet FAR more end-user friendly technologies.

RE: My experience
By Hare on 3/28/2007 4:10:29 PM , Rating: 2
You need them? Ok, I quess Abit has made a huge mistake since you represent the whole userbase?

Obviously people who need paraller ports etc CAN choose a board that has them. Why on earth should most motherboards carry features that extremely few need.

Where's my built in IR, where's bluetooth, where's wlan... They are options to lower the cost of the entry motherboards. Everyone can choose a board that suits their needs. There's absolutely no reason to stuff everything in just to increase the price with useless clutter.

unwise of Gigabyte
By dcalfine on 3/25/2007 5:05:03 PM , Rating: 3
ASUS is becoming one of the biggest computer companies in the world. Last year at this time, they mostly just made motherboards and video cards. Now, they make innovative motherboards, sound cards, and best of all, laptops, and sell their services to companies like Apple.

RE: unwise of Gigabyte
By Avalon on 3/25/2007 7:42:27 PM , Rating: 3
First thing I thought of when I read the article was "LOL, that ended quick!"

RE: unwise of Gigabyte
By BernardP on 3/26/2007 8:36:17 AM , Rating: 2
The reasons given by Lee for Gigabyte to end the partnership are surprising:

Says Lee: "It would appear that Gigabyte analyzed its situation in the partnership, coming to the conclusion its stock would be affected negatively and that its motherboard and VGA business would have long term drawbacks with a 49% ownership by ASUS. "Gigabyte would have 49% less revenue from motherboard and VGA sales. For the amount that ASUS invested in, it didn't seem justified"

I have trouble believing that nobody thought about this before they entered into a partnership. There is probably another explanation.

By medavid16 on 3/25/2007 5:03:53 PM , Rating: 2
Ok, fine, Striker Extreme was a let down. But the P5N32-E is churning beautifully at a much more reasonable price.

I agree, ASUS in the past has been a little shady to say the least, but my new board is working nicely (albeit the updates could be more frequent) and I can't really complain to ASUS right now.

By cheetah2k on 3/25/2007 10:12:41 PM , Rating: 2
Unfortunately, I was one of the early owners of Asus's A8N-Sli Deluxe boards (based on the Nforce4 chipset and AMD x2 ready) in Hong Kong.

After 2 replacements within the first 7 days (one due to failing USB ports, the other due to the failing of the 2nd PCI-e slot) and 2 RMA's (one of which required me to pay HK$200 for a refurbished board due to the 12v CPU voltage regulator totally failing - infact it burst into flames!) I ebayed the Asus board, and moved across to the Abit AN8-32X, which I have had now for over 12 months, and with out fault (its also a damn good overclocker for my FX-60)

Friends of mine have also had issues with Asus 7900GT Top video cards (they also had faulty voltage regulators) and it confused me as to why Asus didnt recall all of these, rather they waited for users to RMA the boards and keeping the problems to themselves. Regardless of whether this was a Nvidia production problem, Asus should have tested the boards appropriately, and their QA team should have tagged the issues before release.

The Crosshair AM2 board is another product with problems. Firstly with their own software conflicts between the HD audio and the 2 x Gigabit ethernet ports (preventing you from using 1 of the ports), and again issues with USB ports failing.

I hate to admit it, but Asus just doesnt cut it like they used to with quality - ever since they moved their manufacturing to Main Land China...

I have no confidence in Asus products. They never respond to any of the forum entries crying out for help. Their support is total shite.

Finally, I have rarely heard of complaints on Gigabyte products. I think they have made the right decision to split.

ASUS Website
By jrwalte on 3/26/2007 10:36:16 AM , Rating: 2
I don't know about others experiences, but the ASUS website as its been for the past 5 months is what will prevent me from ever buying another ASUS product. It's always either extremely slow or won't even connect at all. Sometimes I even have to go to third party websites just to download drivers for my ASUS product because their website won't connect for the download.

On top of that, their support/forums is clunky and without a search option - rendering it almost useless.

RE: ASUS Website
By Uarmm on 3/26/2007 2:15:18 PM , Rating: 2
You got that right. I own a Asus P5B-Deluxe/WiFi-AP and it has been excellent. But their website is a complete disgrace. Good luck downloading drivers at a reasonable speed or even at all. Half the damn mirrors don't even work and if you do successfully start downloading something, you'll be lucky to get 40 kbytes/s.

So be it....
By crystal clear on 3/26/2007 11:52:29 AM , Rating: 3
"Gigabyte Calls It Quits on ASUS Alliance"

So be it-its good for us-more competition!!!!!

Better quality products & competetive prices-thats what we need.

We the buyers stand to gain by this.

I used to be an Asus fanboy too...
By breethon on 3/26/2007 5:56:42 PM , Rating: 2
I was one of the early A8n-SLI Premium adopters as well. My current bios is beta and has been for well over a year. I have had nothing but problems with this thing. I tried to blame all the other hardware I use, but once I had replaced everything but the board, what else can I blame? If you want to hear from their "customers", check out their forums. How many posts say "need help with" and see what the responses are -if you don't mind waiting for the pages to load.

I replaced my cousins old ASUS (that mysteriously decided to no longer do anything) P5P800 with a Gigabyte (my first one bought from them), and was impressed how easy it was to setup. No fuss, booted first time, and XP recognized everything as plug and pray.

A match made in Hell
By cornfedone on 3/26/07, Rating: 0
I suspect Gigabyte can see the downhill spiral...
By Beenthere on 3/25/07, Rating: -1
By michaelheath on 3/25/2007 5:30:34 PM , Rating: 5
You honestly can't please fanboys...

I have used Abit, Asus, Foxconn, Intel, and MSI motherboards over the past several years. They've all served their purpose, and each and every one has not failed to do what I expected it to do. I've never used a Gigabyte board, but, should I ever purchase one, I would expect that it would be every bit as good as everyone says it is, and probably equally as good as the other five manufacturers' components I have already used. I think Asus is a fine company, so I fail to see how anyone could derive the idea that Gigabyte opted out of the agreement because Asus 'is in a downward spiral', short of complete conjecture and baseless accusation. In fact, the interview in the article says outright, "We realized that Asus would be getting 49% of the profit; we don't benefit from that." They're a business, they want to make money just like any other business.

If 'unscrupulous business practices' is meant to imply that 'Asus doesn't back up their products by delivering world-class customer service when I had an issue', I think you may be unaware that practically every motherboard manufacturer, including Gigabyte and the other five companies I have purchased from listed above, give equally un-compelling reasons to buy their products based on their customer service alone. If you are uncomfortable with the idea that, should something break, you are almost completely on your own, perhaps you shouldn't be building your own computers. Either that or you should take some real action and try to change things rather than bitching on an internet forum about how you don't like the way things are...

By SquidianLoveGod on 3/25/2007 10:40:07 PM , Rating: 2
Agreed, I have had MSI, PC Chips, Intel, Asus, Abit, Foxconn, They have all performed rather well and usually did what they were advertised to do with the exception of PC chips.
After a few years, My MSI board started going nuts, with random crashes and what not in my Athlon XP 3000+ machine. I took a heap of computer gear down to the dump, and Started looking through some other gear, I actually found a fully working operational and stable, Gigabyte Nforce 2 Ultra motherboard, Not only did it have sata and raid, but I finally made the move to AGP 8X! (I am being serious, And no I was not joking about finding it down the dump).
When I brought the board home I was actually thinking something might explode, or it wouldn't boot at all, But within half an hour of removing the old board, putting in the Gigabyte board, I pressed the button, And it booted, I set everything up in the bios as it should be, installed windows and not a problem since. I then went out and bought 2x 200gb Sata HDD and then threw them into raid, I was asss-tounded :)

By Axbattler on 3/27/2007 12:49:06 PM , Rating: 2
Either that or you should take some real action and try to change things

Please explain what you mean by that. What is a consumer to do when faced by a hardware bug? Fix the hardware? Not realistic for most, and certainly should not be expected. Contact the companies about it? Most of the people probably do that. Vote with your wallet against the company? Not likely going to dent them much.

So no, I wouldn't say that Gigabyte pulled back from the deal because it feared that Asus's reputation had gone downhill. But just because you, and the majority of the people may have had no problem with their product, it does not mean that they are trouble free. After a few months of contact, Asus finally acknowledged a specific hardware compatibility bug, I, and a others with the same set up have experienced. And sure enough, I'll voice the issues online to raise awareness. Most setup using most motherboards are probably trouble free. But there is still a difference between 99.95% reliability over 99.5% (and I know which one I prefer). There is still a gap between the best support and the worst - even if the best are not 'world class' The so-called bitching online is pretty much the only way to find out whether problem you experienced are one off or not.

As for fanboy-ism. I have no idea what that has got to do with online complaints. I have used Abit, Asus, Intel, DFI and MSI over the past few years. Most did what they were supposed to, is it such a shock that those that didn't and or didn't have decent support affect my perception of a company?

"We are going to continue to work with them to make sure they understand the reality of the Internet.  A lot of these people don't have Ph.Ds, and they don't have a degree in computer science." -- RIM co-CEO Michael Lazaridis
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