AMD Chief Marketing Officer Nigel Dessau says AMD will pass on the low-cost notebook or netbook market for now, although Web sites are offering interesting details about a low-cost AMD notebook chip. Dessau is also looking to strengthen AMD's Opteron brand after problems with the quad-core version of the processor.
Advanced Micro Devices is taking a pass on the low-cost notebook market for
now, but new marketing chief Nigel Dessau says the
chip maker will continue to watch the so-called "netbook" space
as it continues to develop.
Dessau, who took
over as AMD's senior vice president and chief marketing office in March,
said in a telephone interview AMD is interested in how the low-cost notebook
market will develop, but has no immediate plans to offer specific
processors for these laptops.
"We are not saying it's not an important segment and we're not saying
it's not a growing segment," Dessau said.
"What we are saying is that we are a smaller company and we have to focus
on what we do well at this point. We are watching that segment rather than playing
in it, but as it matures we'll see where it goes. At this moment, we are going
to focus on what we do best."
While there is debate about whether
these low-cost notebooks represent the next stage of mobile computing,
companies are starting to put money and new chip and notebook designs into the
market to replicate the success Asustek Computer has had with its Eee PC. Intel
and Via Technologies, the other two players in the x86 chip market, each have
processors for the low-cost notebook market, and PC vendors such as Dell,
Hewlett-Packard and Acer have brought or will bring new netbooks into the
AMD, which has placed an emphasis on
processors that are low-cost and use less power, would seem to be well
positioned to enter this market with an x86 processor. The
issue came to the forefront the week of July 14 when new CEO Dirk Meyer hinted
that the company
might add a chip to its road map later in 2008 that
would address these markets.
blogs have reported that Meyer
was referring to an AMD
chip called "Bobcat," which will then compete with the Intel
which recently introduced a new low-power processor called Nano.
Geode processor, a low-power chip
that is appearing in some versions of the
One Laptop Per Child XO notebook, is another candidate.
However, Dessau indicated in his
interview that AMD was content watching how
the market would develop for now. Some analysts also believe AMD
will stay out of the market for now as it looks to recover from several
financial setbacks and refocus its limited resources on the high-volume server
and PC markets.
AMD reported its seventh straight
financial loss July 17-Hector
Ruiz also announced he would step down from the CEO's post
indicated that the company would refocus its energies on its core
businesses of graphics and processors, which will take the company deeper into
the midmarket and away from the untested netbook space.
This means that AMD
will likely focus on its new mobile platform,
which launched in June and is
designed for more mainstream notebooks for small and midsize businesses as well
as consumers, who continue to drive the notebook market. AMD also released a desktop
platform earlier in 2008 that it hopes will drive new sales in the enterprise
and with midmarket companies.
In the interview, Dessau said AMD
is also working on strengthening its Opteron brand after the company failed to
deliver the quad-core version of the chip-Barcelona-on time after technical
problems with the silicon were discovered.
One reason for this problem was
that AMD did not get working samples of the chip out to customers on time.
AMD turns its attention to a new version of Opteron, which is called
"Shanghai" and will be built on a new 45-nanometer process that offers
a boost in performance,
said the company has learned its lessons. Dessau
added that AMD also has to show customers the difference between a processor's
performance, such as improvements in clock speed, and what the chip can
actually do in terms of handling the specific workloads a business needs.
"We have to separate out the speed of the processor from how it's going
to be used by the customer," Dessau
While Dessau did not offer
specific details, he noted that the company would emphasize Opteron's
virtualization capabilities and its traditional strength in the multisocket
server space, where technology such as integrated memory has given the chip an
edge compared with Intel's processors.
new microarchitecture, Nehalem, is expected to close that gap
by adding an
integrated memory controller and other features. "We need to assure our customers and we need to
assure the market that the mistakes of the past will not be repeated and that
the latest Opterons are winning benchmarks and solving customer problems,"
said Dessau. "We need to surprise them when it comes to 45 nanometer
and that means making it a little bit better than they think. We need to go
from the Barcelona blues to the Shanghai surprise."