AMD just released some dismal numbers, along with announcement of substantial impending layoffs. Some have rightly asked — is this the end for AMD?
I don’t think AMD is in imminent threat of going under, but clearly they have to do something and do it soon to remain relevant.
But it won’t be that easy.
First, AMD has virtually no mobile strategy (I kid that AMD stands for Absent from Mobile Devices)! Yes, the company just released Hondo, which is a chip targeted at tablets. But it only works with Windows. Where is AMD’s solution for other platforms? (I haven’t seen an Android implementation for the chip yet.)
Next, AMD’s strategy against Intel in the PC space has been to sell at a lower price. But its CPU performance has not kept pace with Intel’s (although AMD’s GPU is better). This is impeding AMD’s ability to sell, even with a lower cost, and Intel is getting more price aggressive blunting their price advantage. And Intel’s marketing advantage often negates any price advantage AMD has at point of sale.
Third, AMD is at the mercy of third party foundries. This means it’s unable to keep up with Intel around process technologies, so it remains one to two generations behind Intel in fabrication processes. This affects chip power/performance/size/cost, and it’s a big deal in an ultra competitive marketplace.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the stand alone graphics market, on which AMD generate lots of revenue, is shrinking quickly as more capable graphics make it to the combined CPU/GPU chips. This means AMD can’t command the higher prices it once did for superior graphics, when on board graphics is good enough for most users. That puts AMD in a bind.