In 2007, Advanced Micro Devices is expecting microprocessor unit shipments to grow 35 percent year over year, company Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Hector Ruiz said on Monday during a visit to Moscow.
Ruiz called the unit growth target aggressive because the size of microprocessor dies is growing as a result of the introduction of dual-core and quad-core processors, which meant fewer microprocessors can be made on each wafer.
AMD is planning to shift its production to a 65-nanometer process by mid-2007. Asked if the current inability to produce the offerings in the 65-nanometer space for the market like Intel’s Core 2 Duo microprocessor or the upcoming quad-core processor was dangerous for AMD, Ruiz suggested forgetting the nanometer discussion.
“Although nanometers look important for the cost, what really counts is the product value in the market,” he said. He also said that AMD would be the first company to introduce a native quad-core processor. “The quad-core you’ve heard about is just two dual-core chips glued together; it’s not really quad-core.”
In the third-quarter results issued on Oct. 18, AMD reported a 70 percent year-over-year growth in mobile microprocessors. At the same time, systems manufacturers in Russia experienced shortages of all types of AMD microprocessors.
“The shift to mobile computers was much faster that we thought. And therefore we were unable to shift our company fast enough to take advantage of this faster,” Ruiz said. “But we believe that the third-quarter challenge was temporary, and we already in this quarter have begun a better mix towards desktop. We expect next year to have much more normal distribution,” he added.
In servers, according to the company chairman, AMD is not planning the creation of any formal alliances to promote its server platforms like Intel and its partners did a year ago with the Itanium Solutions Alliance. After obtaining large accounts like Hewlett-Packard, IBM and Sun Microsystems, AMD got together an informal “group of friends” that meets twice a year for discussions with end users.
“The alliance on Itanium is a desperate attempt to save a failed architecture,” Ruiz said.
Regarding the overall competition with Intel, AMD’s chairman mentioned the importance of a free access to the market. “The one thing which is important and perhaps is not understood well in some areas of the world is how important it is that Intel’s illegal business practices be stopped so that our products can continue to gain based on their own merit of value, performance, etc.,” he said.
According to the AMD’s Russian representative office chief, Alexandre Belenky, even now some OEMs in Russia feel quite a strong pressure from Intel. “We hope that the lawsuit we filed in the United States and the legal actions performed by the European Commission will lead to the real disengagement of the market and the advent of a fair competition,” Belenky said.
Ruiz’s visit to Russia happened less than a week after AMD had completed the acquisition of graphics chipmaker ATI, and the chief of “the new AMD” spent a large portion of his time promoting and explaining the outcomes of the deal, which according to him in one form or another had been outlined in the company’s strategy several years ago.
Besides the discrete and mobile GPU businesses in which AMD has not been present before, the chipmaker expects to get an opportunity for growth in the consumer segment. Ruiz claimed ATI had a strong position in phone handsets, as well as digital television. “This will help AMD to take the computing technology and graphics capability all the way down to handheld devices and enhancement of digital television technology,” the company chairman said.
As the first fruit of AMD-ATI joint effort, he mentioned the previously announced Fusion technology that represented a new type of computer microprocessors combining a CPU and a GPU in one chip. He also said that AMD would not prevent other graphics chipmakers from developing products for its platforms. “We are hoping and encouraging Nvidia to continue to develop products because we will not artificially prevent them from participating in our ecosystem,” he said.
The AMD chief did not provide any further details on the products and technologies the combined company is going to introduce in the future.
“Over the next few weeks you will hear more clarification of what the new company is,” he said.
In Russia, where the AMD’s chief arrived at the end of the past week, he met the company’s local employees, largest accounts and government officials including Valentina Matvienko, the governor of Saint Petersburg.
According to Ruiz, during the meeting with her they talked in general terms about the fact that Saint Petersburg is a very attractive place for research and development with its universities, but they had no specifics at that time.
With one of the universities, Saint Petersburg Polytechnic University, AMD signed an agreement under which the two sides will “begin discussing possible joint efforts in the area of computer science.”
-Pavel Kupriyanov, Computerworld Russia
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