Responding to Intel

By eweek  |  Posted 2007-09-10 Print this article Print

How has the market changed in the last year, and how is AMD preparing to respond now that Intel is on better footing than when the dual-core Opteron came out? In some masochistic way, I like to take credit for Intel being a better company. I believe that is what competition does. We do recognize and we do acknowledge that we are going into a period of time quite different than the one we went into when we launched [the first] Opteron, and we are now in a much more competitive space.
[Intel has] good products. Before, they did not have products as good, and now this is going to make us stronger in a certain sense. Now we have to figure out how to do things even faster and better.
How do you intend to move the products out to market faster to improve your manufacturing capabilities? I think we are doing some things that are going to put us in a strong position, but I would put [them] in the category of highly proprietary. I think that you can measure the results when you put [Barcelona] under the microscope. I think you are going to see some highly innovative things, and that is only beginning. I think that our approach to multicore technology is different from our competitors. I think that it is going to make us a better developer of technology, and despite the size differential, by any measure our manufacturing is pretty strong. The fact that we are only one-tenth the size [of Intel] is a disadvantage to some people, but I believe that we are fairly strong. Earlier this year, you lost some market share. How did your relationship with Dell affect the supply chain in the first half of this year? You know that had a psychological effect on us, but it was unfortunately one of those things like the stock market, like the behavior of subprime lending. There were customers around the world that were concerned that the energy that would be required to serve such a large customer would take away from our attention to others. There were some people who were nervous and held back from buying stuff from us. But the reality is, when you look at Dells ability to ramp, in addition to addressing their own set of issues, that was more of a psychological reaction and an emotional reaction and not a real reaction. We always knew what it would take to serve a complex and challenging customer like Dell, and, while we were prepared for it, the outside world did not anticipate it. Therefore, I think we suffered some unintended consequences for a couple of quarters. People thought that we were going to have to divert our attention, but I think that has settled down. Now, I think everyone knows that our relationship with Dell was orderly, and I believe that is behind us. AMDs market share rebounded in the second quarter. Read how. How does the new relationship between Sun Microsystems, which had been an exclusive partner of yours for several years, and Intel affect AMD? Sun is a true partner, and we have done a lot of things in a joint fashion. The relationship between our engineering teams is very strong, and, at the risk of sounding flippant, we really welcome the competition with Intel. I really believe that anyone that deals with both of us eventually knows that we have the better products, and if you dont deal with both of us, you will never know. I can tell you in some way that this is good for us, and all the products that Sun is launching or developing continue to be AMD-based products. And Barcelona is going to be a very key part of their offerings. Sun recently announced its eight-core Niagara 2 processor, which seemed to leapfrog ahead of the four-core offerings from Intel and AMD. Can you explain your views on what Sun has done for microprocessors? Sun has had a very respectable computer architecture team that continues to enhance SPARC. It is very similar to IBM, which has a very competent architecture team that continues to enhance Power. Both of these companies have a strategy that continues to nurture their proprietary architecture, but I think both companies know how important a standard product is for them. I think our role is not to challenge that strategy but to serve them when they need x86 processors, and thats our plan. Page 4: AMD Goes on the Offensive


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