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Microsoft engineers are busy designing the second version of Xbox around an AMD CPU, according to Fechtor Detwiler, the Boston-based investment bank. Their channel checkers picked up this tidbit, and say that Intel won't be able to snatch and grab the contract as easily as it did first time around. "One of the primary reasons for the selection we understand," the firm says in a research note, "was the close relationship of Microsoft with Nvidia. We were told that Intel's strategy of combining graphics capability with processor function on the same device left Microsoft with fears that they would lose the ability to provide enhanced video features offered Nvidia or potentially others." Hmm. As Fechtor Detwiler points out this would be an "impressive win for AMD and a noteworthy loss for Intel". But the reasoning looks a little suspect; granted Nvidia and AMD are bosom buddies, and granted that Nvidia and Microsoft are new best friends, with plans to jointly dominate digital entertainment in the home till Kingdom come. But would Intel really jeopardise an important gig like X-Box for the sake of integrating graphics onto its CPUs? More to the point, does Microsoft really think Intel would jeopardise the gig? First time around with XBox, Intel won the deal because it underbid AMD at the death. By dallying with AMD, MS is simply keeping Chipzilla on its toes. There is still everything to play for.