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Just where is AMD headed?

by on10 November 2011 2678 times

despdAMD has faced some rough time recently. After their ATi purchase back in 2006 AMD has had one poor leader after another. Under Hector Ruiz we ended up with the ill-fated $5.4 Billion buyout of ATi. This was a purchase that caused AMD to not have a profitable quarter for almost 5 years. In fact if AMD had not gotten a settlement from Intel in late 2010 they would still be operating in the red. Hector Ruiz was also responsible for the shedding of AMD’s foundries.  This split created Global Foundries and forced AMD as a CPU and GPU manufacturer into a Fabless state. They now have to pay to have their processors made by another company.

It was during the split that AMD was finally able to rid themselves of Hector Ruiz who was eventually succeeded by Dirk Meyer one of the people that helped AMD bring about the Athlon CPU. However, it was soon after he took the reins that Dirk was forced out. For a while AMD stumbled around headless until they picked up Rory Read, a former executive with Lenovo.

Since coming on board, we have seen Roy dump almost all of AMD’s PR and Marketing staff in a move that cut 1400 employees from AMD’ payroll. The question that everyone wants to know is, why? It is true that AMD’s marketing staff was not the best out there. They tended to concentrate on the wrong areas and failed to properly market or push many of AMD’s products (including their GPU line). The PR team was good when they were allowed to operate. Unfortunately, they tended to have executives watching over their shoulders and counting every nickel that was spent.

So what is in store for AMD now? We do know that Read spoke to the remaining AMD staff via Webcast and filled them in on part of this plan. Currently the guess is that AMD will be returning to where they started. They manufactured components for other devices. Not like CPUs and GPUs, but DSPs, mobile processors etc. They may also dive back into the console market and try to recapture what they have lost to nVidia and others there.

This is not that wild of a theory really; AMD still maintains ties with Texas Instrument, IBM, and of course Samsung. It is possible that they can rebuild the R&D relationship they had with this group before and begin building on a mobile platform like nVidia’s Tegra. Three is still the problem of money though. AMD is not exactly flush with cash and building something like the Tegra and seeing it all the way to market is not going to be cheap. We expect to see more cuts and perhaps the discontinuation of certain product lines in the near future for AMD as they tighten their belts to achieve this new goal.

As always we will try to get as much information as we can about this moving forward and will let you know what we find out. It might be a little rough for the next few months as no one seems to know exactly who to contact at AMD right now. Still, we will certainly keep our eye on things and see where this new direction will lead.

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Last modified on 13 June 2012
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