Have you ever had one of those weeks? You know, when everything that could go wrong does go wrong? By the end of the week, you feel like that things are never going to be the same. Sometimes, you just want to give up.
AMD happened to have had one of those weeks last week. Only Mirko Filipovic can possibly feel worse than they do right now.
That AMD/ATI have had a rough year or so to begin with is no secret; R600 is still nowhere to seen, while nvidia has continuously been sweeping the floor with G80. In other words, nvidia has been an entire generation of video cards ahead of AMD/ATI for half a year. And we’re not just talking about the realm of $500+ products either; the 8800 GTS 320MB is holding its own for a good 2 months now, and that can be had for as low as $300.
By now, you’d expect to see something from AMD, but no, not yet. And this is where their rough week starts; as the world is waiting for AMD/ATI to come up with their DX10 solution, nvidia came out and announced that their mainstream DX10 cards are available in stores. Yup, for as low as $100, you can have a DirectX 10 video card. now. nvidia have cornered the market of the next generation of video cards completely.
The next day, at Intel’s IDF in Beijing, they released the first benchmarks of the upcoming 45nm CPU, Penryn. We already know that the Core 2 Quad already kills whatever AMD has, and now we see Intel’s next CPU, to be released in a matter of weeks, outperforming that one. And doing it all while consuming even less power than before. We normally don’t put too much weight into benchmarks furbished by the manufacturer, but Intel has been spot-on in the past, so we have no reason to doubt them now.
Then came the quarterly report. You know they saw this coming… Since AMD had to drop their CPU prices so drastically to even retain their relevancy when Intel unleashed Conroe onto the world, they have reported a quarterly loss of $611 million. To contrast, in the same quarter the previous year, they reported a profit of $184.5 million. That shows just how much money they are losing with the consistent price cuts that are required to even be considered as a purchase.
So now AMD is at a crossroads. They can no longer publicly ignore these problems, and in fact just at the end of their terrible week they had a conference call. In that conference call, they discussed their issues, and what they planned to do about it. Some of the changes involve a more “asset light” method of operation, with plans to rely more on third parties for R&D and production.
AMD President and COO Dirk Meyer still has the mentality that Intel has a “monopoly” that they are doing “everything in their power to protect”. He also added that “weakening demand in the consumer electronics businesses added to our pain.” Those don’t exactly sound like fighting words to me unfortunately. Their plan is to “grow the top line, change our cost structure and align with the competitive environment, and execute flawlessly on our product and technology roadmaps.” We shall see whether this can even make a difference by now… I think more than anything, they need nvidia or Intel to trip up or something. However, it looks like those days are well behind those two companies.