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AMD: It Won't Be About 'AMD vs. Intel' Anymore

By - Source: Mercury News | B 151 comments

AMD is finally shifting its focus away from competing with long-time rival Intel, and instead will focus its energy on emerging markets and cloud computing.

In a recent interview with the San Jose Mercury News, AMD spokesman Mike Silverman indicated that the company plans to shift its focus away from competing with long-time processor rival Intel starting in 2012. Instead, the company will likely focus on developing a solid mobile strategy while still remaining committed to the x86 architecture.

"We're at an inflection point," he said. "We will all need to let go of the old 'AMD versus Intel' mind-set, because it won't be about that anymore."

The move isn't surprising given that the company hasn't been able to gain a market share lead over Intel in years. AMD had hoped to gain some ground after Intel suffered a string of antitrust regulatory rebukes, but the processor nemesis remained vigilant, its sales booming. Last year Intel reported sales of nearly $44 billion whereas AMD only reported $6.5 billion.

Presently AMD sits at around 19-percent of the overall processor market share, down from a 23-percent share in 2006. The company has been chided for heavily depending on a PC market where the pace of growth has slowed due to the economy and emerging markets. It's recently-launched Bulldozer chips even brought in disappointing reviews, and the company just recently cut 1,400 jobs.

Given that its fight with Intel has seemingly gotten AMD nowhere, time has come for a change. "AMD is a leader in x86 microprocessor design, and we remain committed to the x86 market," AMD said in a statement this week. "Our strategy is to accelerate our growth by taking advantage of our design capabilities to deliver a breadth of products that best align with broader industry shifts toward low power, emerging markets and the cloud."

The "emerging markets" -- presumably smartphones and tablets -- is a space where both Intel and AMD will fight to survive, a space currently dominated by ARM's low-power architecture. There's also the new ultrabook market which requires low-power solutions to keep the overall prices down and battery life extended. These three markets alone are untapped veins of possible revenue for the company, and as AMD pointed out, three avenues that are currently the industry's primary focus.

Yet back in August, Rick Bergman, senior VP and general manager of AMD’s Product Group, said that the company had no plans to enter the smartphone sector. "We haven’t announced any plans to go in that handheld space," Bergman said. "We’ve got plenty of opportunities… in server, notebook and now tablets, that’s our immediate focus. But if the right circumstances come up and we can see a way to impact the market, we’ll obviously continue to look."

On the tablet front, AMD launched the Z-Series Bobcat-based APUs during Computex 2011 back in June. The first chip, the AMD Z-01, features two 1 GHz Bobcat cores, a TDP of 5.9W, 1 MB of L2 cache and AMD Radeon HD 6250 discrete-class graphics (276 MHz, 80 cores). By comparison, Nvidia just launched its ARM-based Tegra 3 SoC featuring a quad-core ARM Cortex-A9 MPCore (up to 1.4 GHz single-core mode and 1.3 GHz multi-core mode), a 12-core GeForce GPU, 1 MB of L2 cache, and a TDP of around 4W.

AMD is expected to update its strategy in February 2012, but there's a good chance we'll learn more during CES 2012 in January.

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Top Comments
  • 56 Hide
    rantoc , November 30, 2011 12:15 PM
    And in later news Intel raises the cpu prices by 200% over a 3 year period and Ivy bridge is delayed 5 years and after that its 33mhz increases for 1000$ each!
  • 35 Hide
    borden5 , November 30, 2011 12:25 PM
    monopoly is never a good thing
  • 30 Hide
    rsktek , November 30, 2011 12:13 PM
    So Intel won... for good. :/ 
Other Comments
    Display all 151 comments.
  • 30 Hide
    rsktek , November 30, 2011 12:13 PM
    So Intel won... for good. :/ 
  • 22 Hide
    LORD_ORION , November 30, 2011 12:13 PM
    We are rolling over, because we are dead.
  • 56 Hide
    rantoc , November 30, 2011 12:15 PM
    And in later news Intel raises the cpu prices by 200% over a 3 year period and Ivy bridge is delayed 5 years and after that its 33mhz increases for 1000$ each!
  • 22 Hide
    Anonymous , November 30, 2011 12:15 PM
    Time to Intel chips price Skyrocket
  • 19 Hide
    Thunderfox , November 30, 2011 12:17 PM
    I know Intel is top dog, but still, if they are this far behind Intel, how are they going to compete with anybody else?

    Imagine how much better ATI would be doing if it didn't have to prop up AMD.
  • 11 Hide
    beardguy , November 30, 2011 12:17 PM
    Good plan. I think coming to this realization is healthy for AMD. I love AMD but with the current line of Intel processors, there is just no compelling reason to buy AMD over Intel.

    Hopefully this new strategy will help them become a leader with a different focus. I almost got a job with AMD a few years back, glad I didn't now since they just laid off 1,400 people ... ouch!
  • 28 Hide
    zooted , November 30, 2011 12:18 PM
  • 14 Hide
    theuniquegamer , November 30, 2011 12:18 PM
    I think its now intel vs ARM in mobile and server segment(in future) vs amd in mobile segment (in desktop segment amd is 2 step behind intel). I am waiting to upgrade my phenom ii x4 955 to any future amd good gaming cpu(if it is a proper replacement for current phenom ii)
  • 28 Hide
    masterasia , November 30, 2011 12:19 PM
    That means Ivy Bridge will now be twice as expensive.
  • 2 Hide
    ethaniel , November 30, 2011 12:23 PM
    The spokesman can call it whatever he likes. It´s a virtual capitulation. Let´s throw some prices for AMD shares. I´ll start: 30 cents.
  • 24 Hide
    overlof , November 30, 2011 12:23 PM
    Epic I think. I had only AMD processors and I liked it for their prices tolerance all my life.
    I think Intel may increase their prices without AMD rivalry. These news is very bad for usual customers I think...
  • 25 Hide
    tmk221 , November 30, 2011 12:25 PM
    rsktekSo Intel won... for good.

    it certainly would win for good if AMD have stayed focused on desktop CPUs alone

    LORD_ORIONWe are rolling over, because we are dead.

    AMD will be dead if they don't move on... they need $$$$$$ for R&D and desktop cpus market wont bring much profit with current line of desktop CPUs.

    Can you blame them for focusing on other markets insted of desktop CPUs? I think not. They fight for survival, looke at their balance sheets....
  • 35 Hide
    borden5 , November 30, 2011 12:25 PM
    monopoly is never a good thing
  • 14 Hide
    de5_Roy , November 30, 2011 12:26 PM
    sounds like amd threw in the towel in desktop x86 sector.
    amd's moving on to untapped mobile sector is a good move. they succeeded in taking away some shares with their mobile llano and bobcat apus. they have a strong gpu division and an adequate cpu - their combined effort might result in cheaper and better laptops.
    if nvidia successfully debuts their project denver, 64 bit arm cpu running windows 8, the cpu sector will turn into a three way competition with intel vs amd vs nvidia. amd also has a better chance to build a good and competitive arm apu. the future looks interesting.
    best of luck amd.
  • 12 Hide
    saturnus , November 30, 2011 12:27 PM
    What AMD should do is to not blindly follow neither Intel as they have been doing nor nVidia as it seem they will be doing but form their own unique platform. And here AMD is in a good position, they have an x86 license, they should use it to make ARM processors that can run legacy x86 code and combine that with their own take of a GPU into an SoC if they so desire. That will be a unique product.
    And a product there will be a huge demand for when Microsoft finally release Windows for ARM since the only drawback of that platform would be lack of x86 legacy app compatibility. A processor that combine true ARM cores with a dedicated x86 recoder co-processor could be a game changer for AMD and will likely win them huge marketshares, if not even overtake Intel flat out.
  • 7 Hide
    pyoverdin , November 30, 2011 12:28 PM
    Well, at least we have the great moments to remember. I am thankful that AMD just existed, managed to pull off the Athlon XP and X2 series. But this is just a small period of time. Hopefully when Intel transitions to graphene, or maybe optical/quantum computer, another AMD will emerge.
  • 8 Hide
    jgutz2006 , November 30, 2011 12:29 PM
    Basically what i get from this is: Were going to continue doing what we've always been doing but we dont care if our chip wins 3 of 7 benchmarks (or whatever) against this intel chip and 2 of 7 against that chip. By saying that their focus is shifting, they aren't losing any competitions. I do believe that the shift to smart phone type devices is a smart one but the profit margins of the X86 chips (especially the opteron lines) is what will keep the company afloat.
  • 12 Hide
    Anonymous , November 30, 2011 12:32 PM
    Im sure we will hear of more delays now. Plus, price increase.
  • 19 Hide
    Nakecat , November 30, 2011 12:35 PM
    AMD can still compete in mid-level with the right price, i hope they don't exit the market completely.

    Also, ..... why the hell entering the DRAM market at all?
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