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

By - Source: Mercury News | B 12 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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  • -4 Hide
    Anonymous , 30 November 2011 20:25
  • 7 Hide
    joedastudd , 30 November 2011 20:49
    Terrible move.
    The AMD vs Intel competition is what keeps cpu prices low.
    If AMD was to stop competing then Intel can change as much as they want.
  • 3 Hide
    tulx , 30 November 2011 20:57

    Let see how you'll "LOL" when buying your next CPU and it will cost twice as much as your last.
  • Display all 12 comments.
  • -1 Hide
    theFatHobbit , 30 November 2011 21:19
    Lets be honest there hasn't been any serious competition from AMD against Intel for a long time.

  • 2 Hide
    MadCatz900 , 30 November 2011 21:28
    Thats a shame because now intel have no reason not too charge a lot more for their cpus.
  • 1 Hide
    leonkennedy_7 , 30 November 2011 22:12
    AMD is a sinking boat if they continue the way they are now. and i am disappointed after the bulldozer launch i feel i am on that sinking boat. i bought the asus sabertooth mobo hoping i could upgrade to bulldozer and get i7 like performance at cheap price but their top of the line processor struggled to beat even the mid range i5. AMD vs Intel is definitely not the game any more its more of the cheap price mediocre performance (AMD) vs premium price and great performance (intel).
    but AMD can really do well in developing markets like asia and africa if they lower price and spend some more on the marketing of their products. here in india the only place you get to see AMD Advert is at the retailers and people have very little knowledge of the products offered by AMD and how they compare to their intel counterparts. whereas the Intel has their Adverts on TV every few mins. i know AMD isnt as wealthy as Intel but they should atleast start to promote their products in growing markets like india as people here are very value conscious more than the brand conscious.
  • 0 Hide
    flaminggerbil , 30 November 2011 22:52
    Well this is bloody awful news. Not only will this up prices but it could damage technology progression..

    On the other hand, bulldozer does kind of suck.
  • 0 Hide
    may1 , 30 November 2011 23:22
    No it won't be about AMD vs Intel any more. More like, Intel, Intel, Intel.
    AMD you bad -_-
  • 0 Hide
    imran_t , 1 December 2011 00:59
    Let's hope Nvidia's Project Denver delivers something competition worthy
  • 0 Hide
    silver565 , 1 December 2011 03:27
    It sounds like AMD are giving up!

    Why would you do that? If you want to succeed you should keep trying a sector that your are known for, as well as quite successful in. I do agree that they should focus on other areas, but Intel are already doing that.

    There should be no reason for them to stop in one, and focus on another while Intel focuses on all areas
  • 2 Hide
    Anonymous , 1 December 2011 10:57
    Although I use Intel more than AMD, I'm absolutely gutted that AMD are shifting focus away from x86, this is the same company that 10 years ago p****d all over Intel, gave us 3dnow! (An incredibly important extension of the MMX instruction set) and successfully brought in x86-64, (Not 64bit computing before anyone starts, but the 64bit extension to x86) gave us on-die memory controllers, which, again, Intel has only recently started doing, and many more technologies and concepts that have made it possible for Intel to dominate the entire x86 market.

    And look at them now, a company that unless it is granted a miracle, is going to end up going bust, I had my eye on Bulldozer for a while, and in fact my next build was going to be AMD, and although it may still end up being AMD, I'm not holding high hopes for them surviving much longer.

    It's a sad state of affairs this, here's hoping that AMD pull something out of the bag and get back into what they do best, and make innovative and incredibly powerful CPU's that kick ass, and give Intel something to worry about at night. Without AMD nipping at Intel's heels, there will be no need for a competitive marketing model from Intel, and every processor from the budget Celeron to the Core i7 series will skyrocket in price, maybe not for OEM's, but definitely for us, the people who build/repair custom desktops.

    Not only all of that, but if AMD drop out of the x86 market, Intel won't have any real need outside of server and workstation markets to improve their processors, and although AMD aren't making technically superior CPU's anymore, without them around to keep everything moving, neither will Intel.

    If you want anyone to blame for this, blame Windows (you've all heard the term Wintel right? Well, that's what's stopping AMD from regaining a fair market share) it's dominated by Intels partnership with them, where companies who build Intel based desktops/laptops/netbooks etc. get preferential treatment with Windows licensing and stock from Intel than if they build AMD units.
  • 1 Hide
    Rusting In Peace , 1 December 2011 20:02
    It's disappointing but probably makes business sense. AMD never really had the resources to take on Intel. It was great that they did so well with what they had available.

    Kinda feel AMD went off the boil around the ATI takeover.