Microsoft, which announced the first beta of its 64-bit desktop Windows operating system to coincide with the Athlon 64 launch on Tuesday, expects 64-bit desktop computing to take off in Europe first.
Rolf Schauder, director of OEM sales at Microsoft, said that in Europe, there is a huge demand among consumers for more performance -- much more so than in the US.
"There is a big need for 64-bit computing in the consumer market," said Schauder, speaking at the launch of the Athlon 64 in Cannes, France. "Germany is the largest consumer market in Europe, the middle East and Africa, and the home market there does drive the whole industry. There, home users continually invest in technology."
In the US, said Schauder, the price point is around the $299 (£180) to $399 mark. "We don’t see that in Europe. In Europe, more people are likely to spend $999. People here want performance."
The support of Microsoft is critical to the success of Athlon 64. AMD expects the consumer market -- particularly the gaming market -- to drive demand for the Athlon 64, with some demand coming from digital-content creators too. At the launch, one system manufacturer was showing an Athlon 64 running 64-bit SuSE Linux, but to capture the home user and gaming market, AMD is depending on availability of Windows XP 64-Bit Edition Version 2003, as it is called.
Most OEMs at the launch in Cannes were showing games and other home multimedia applications running on 64-bit Windows.
Jerry Sanders, AMD’s founder and chief executive, underlined the importance of Microsoft’s support: "This is the first time ever that Microsoft has supported any x86 instructions that were not conceived by those other guys," he said, referring to Intel. "Nvidia is also supporting us in a big way, and that is crucial too," Sanders added.