Around 2013, AMD entered into an extended partnership with a group of companies to create the Heterogeneous Systems Architecture Foundation. These companies mostly ARM licensees and included Samsung, MediaTek, Texas Instruments (Ti), AMD, Imagination, Qualcomm, and even ARM themselves. The group was similar in nature to the one that AMD had with Motorola and Ti back before the Athlon processor came into existence. The partners were all working on technology and resource sharing to make programing for devices simpler. We also saw it as a chance for AMD to offset R&D costs and potentially enter into some beneficial agreements.
A couple of days ago we published an article on the state of AMD and what their immediate (next 18 months) looked like. In that article we looked at the state that AMD is in right now with what they have on the table…. It seems that a few readers did not like what we had to say. Oddly enough, yesterday a number of articles popped up on the internet that supported much of what we had to say including many of the time lines (14nm by Q3 2016 etc.) Let’s take a look at some of the information out there.
Last week there was an announcement by Global Foundries that they were licensing Samsung’s 14nm FinFET process for their own use. This immediately started the internet going with talk about how AMD would be using this new process despite there not being any indication that AMD was ready for 14nm for APUs, CPUs, or GPUs for that matter. Now, in true internet fashion the rumor mill has shifted from AMD to NVIDIA. The claim is that NVIDIA will soon utilize Samsung’s 14nm FinFET tech too.
When it comes to competing in the CPU market, one of AMD’s big issues has been trying to get to the same process as Intel. Ever since the purchase of ATi by AMD they have always been one (and in some cases two) processes behind. What made this even worse was when AMD hit such bad financial times that they had to sell off their FABs just keep the lights on. They now had to deal with a fledgling foundry company that still had some of the same old managers. This has meant that even when AMD might have a design they were still going to be behind Intel when it came to performance per watt.
Former CEO of Motorola Mobility, Sanjay Jha, under whose leadership the company was sold to Google, will assume leadership of GlobalFoundries. Sanjay Jha was the chief executive officer of Qualcomm, and from the chief position at Motorola Mobility stepped won in 2012.
If you were looking for any additional confirmation that AMD is reorganizing for a major rally then the announcement that they are canceling CPUs before they are launched might be of interest for you. It appears that AMD will be outright cancelling their Krishna and Wichita 28nm CPUs. The stated reason, Global Foundries will not be ready with 28nm in time.
AMD finally has a new CEO, after multiple ups and downs and more than a few replacements we find former Lenovo President and Chief Operating Officer Rory Read as the number one guy. According to IBM Rory has an impressive resume that includes 23-year at IBM holding a number of management positions.
AMD’s CEO history has been somewhat murky since Hector Ruiz (the man most people loved to hate) transferred (for lack of a better word) from AMD proper to Global Foundries under the Asset Lite program and AMD put together to lower overhead costs. After Ruiz left Dirk Meyer (one of the men responsible for the Athlon CPU) took over. It was felt that AMD needed to return to its winning roots and that perhaps Myer would be the one to do it. However, legal bills and the after effects of the ATi acquisition hurt AMD who did not return to having a profitable quarter until after Meyer worked out a $1.25 Billion settlement with Intel over their extended Anti-Trust litigation. Meyer left the company in January of this year. Since that time Thomas Seifert has been the acting CEO. Thomas will return to the post of Chief Financial Officer.
We wish Mr. Read well and luck in brining AMD around and hope that he does have the skills to make headway. Still when we see him we will always remember Lenovo’s LePhone…
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