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AMD Reportedly Preparing Massive Layoff

timothy posted about a year and a half ago | from the might-want-to-put-all-your-stuff-in-a-box dept.

AMD 286

An anonymous reader writes "AMD is preparing to lay off 20 to 30 percent of its workforce after warning of a 10 percent decline in Q3 revenues driven by the weak global economy and PC sales, according to AllThingsD's Arik Hesseldehl. The layoffs will reportedly focus on engineering and sales, and are in addition to a 10 percent headcount reduction 11 months ago. Teams of consultants from McKinsey and Boston Consulting Group are reportedly swarming headquarters to advise the CEO Rory Read, who took over from Dirk Meyer a little over a year ago; several senior executives, including the CFO, have recently departed."

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286 comments

10% decline in quarterly revenues? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41639529)

Shut. Down. EVERYTHING.

Re:10% decline in quarterly revenues? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41639971)

Uh, yeah.

Down 6% in Q1, down 11% in Q2, and they were expected to be down 1% in Q3... instead they were down 10%.

Meanwhile they're not competeing in servers or smartphones, the PC market is shit and it isn't looking like it's going to get any better. Laptops are the one place they're strong, and nobody is optimistic on laptop sales.

It's bleak over there, and believe it or not, they've got a pretty good idea of just how bleak it is.

Re:10% decline in quarterly revenues? (2)

Sulphur (1548251) | about a year and a half ago | (#41640189)

Uh, yeah.

Down 6% in Q1, down 11% in Q2, and they were expected to be down 1% in Q3... instead they were down 10%.

Meanwhile they're not competeing in servers or smartphones, the PC market is shit and it isn't looking like it's going to get any better. Laptops are the one place they're strong, and nobody is optimistic on laptop sales.

It's bleak over there, and believe it or not, they've got a pretty good idea of just how bleak it is.

Damn the decimal point.

Re:10% decline in quarterly revenues? (3, Interesting)

lightknight (213164) | about a year and a half ago | (#41640277)

They're doing it to themselves in the PC market. They spent their resources on the Fusion crap, which while nice for low power devices, leaves the rest of us who want Phenom IIIs and Radeon 9900s out in the cold.

I'm at a FX-8150, and I have no AMD upgrade path. I am at the zenith of their multi-core designs, save switching to an Opteron processor, and I don't want to, because the motherboards are absolute crap. The next time Intel comes out with a top of the line processor, they're likely to get my money over AMD, simply because AMD isn't putting anything out there to compete.

Re:10% decline in quarterly revenues? (4, Informative)

hairyfeet (841228) | about a year and a half ago | (#41640323)

And WHY are they so down? One word....FAILDOZER!!!

Even guys like me that support competition and thought Intel should have been busted for the bribery and compiler rigging have been avoiding Faildozer and why? Because its a bad design, its a server chip designed for integer workloads when consumer workloads are heavy floating point, gets beat in many benches by Thuban, the chip they canceled which just FYI was still selling well and more importantly was getting nearly 100% yields oh and just to add the salt to the wound they didn't bother to tell Microsoft what they were up to so the Windows scheduler ties a boat anchor to its already pitiful performance in all MSFT OSes except...Win 8, the Star Trek 5 of OSes.

Let us hope to all that is good that they don't end up tits up, because Intel already has high prices and without AMD they would go insane on the prices. personally i'll keep building AM3+ and selling E450s and Liano on netbooks and laptops but faildozer is just an awful chip. I hope the former Apple chip designer they got comes out with a worthy replacement for Thuban, instead of just trying to crank up the clocks on a bad design. Hmmm...where did we see that before? Oh yeah...it was called Netburst, only AMD can't afford to bribe OEMs into taking it.

Oh and just FYI but there is still hundreds of millions of X86 units sold a year so its STILL a good market where good money can be made, but AMD needs either the performance or at LEAST the bang for the buck, instead AMD has a design that is too hot, costs too much to make so they have to price it noncompetitive, and has poor yields and lousy performance. If your product is bad? Nobody buys, at least not enough to make money, simple as that.

Do the math (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41640027)

10% revenue decline, gross margin decline from 44% to 31%.

Suppose they were scheduled to have revenue of 'R' which '0.44*R' is potential profit (minus cost of sales), now they will only have sales of '0.9*0.31*R' which is '0.28*R' is potential profit (before expenses). At their current run-rate, that's R=1.4B, that is ~$224M less money they will have this quarter than they expected to have (and they are already losing money).

To give some perspective on that $224M, the whole company's market cap is under $2B (they just estimated that 10% of that is gone). It's not as if your salary was cut 10%, it's as if lost 10% of your total net worth in a quarter. If this happened to you, wouldn't you be thinking that you have to do something?

Damn. (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41639537)

Just...damn. Intel wins.

Not exactly (4, Interesting)

rsilvergun (571051) | about a year and a half ago | (#41639677)

It's been said before and will again, AMD will not be allowed to die, if only because the PC manufacturers are clever enough to know they need at least two vendors for the most critical part of their product. If Microsoft hadn't played games with Windows 8's ARM build I'd say AMD might be on the chopping block for real, but well, that's Microsoft for you.

Re:Not exactly (1)

lawnboy5-O (772026) | about a year and a half ago | (#41639831)

But isn't the reason they are downsizing due to competition?

Re:Not exactly (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41639991)

No, AMD made some really stupid decisions over the last 10 years or so. Things like over paying for ATI, but they've been able to sell all the chips they've produced.

The problem is that they're still paying off that debt and need to put more money into R&D. I'm not sure what engineers they're allegedly going to be laying off, but I can't imagine them laying off any that are working in R&D.

AMD won't be going out of business any time soon because Intel can't afford the kind of questions that would raise. AMD is pretty much the only reason why there's any meaningful innovation in that particular area of chips.

Last I checked, Intel laptop chips were grossly overpriced and under powered. The laptop I'm using was half the price of the equivalent Intel based laptop and while it doesn't get quite as good battery life, for the price difference I could buy a metric crap ton of batteries for it.

Re:Not exactly (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about a year and a half ago | (#41640105)

Last I checked, Intel laptop chips were grossly overpriced and under powered.

My i7 3612QM is doing just fine, and there wasn't a price premium for my laptop compared to others I saw. My desktop (AMD, 5 years old) is now the slowest computer in the house, behind some other AMDs and 2 intels.

Re:Not exactly (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41640111)

Yes, you could buy a crapton of batteries, but most people don't want to carry a crapton of batteries with them, because the point of a laptop is usually to be light, and easy to carry. Also, I'm not quite sure how you got that the equivalent CPU costs that much more, but the price difference isn't really that big.

Re:Not exactly (0)

Sulphur (1548251) | about a year and a half ago | (#41640201)

Yes, you could buy a crapton of batteries, but most people don't want to carry a crapton of batteries with them, because the point of a laptop is usually to be light, and easy to carry. Also, I'm not quite sure how you got that the equivalent CPU costs that much more, but the price difference isn't really that big.

You go somewhere and you overhear "crapton's coming."

Re:Not exactly (1)

ericloewe (2129490) | about a year and a half ago | (#41640131)

If AMD is about to die, Intel will step in to keep it alive.

Last thing Intel needs is to be broken up because there are no other real players in the x86 market. Even the remote possibility of it happening is too much of a risk for Intel.

Re:Not exactly (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41640183)

It's surely cheaper to buy a few congressmen and senators than it is AMD...

Re:Not exactly (2)

lightknight (213164) | about a year and a half ago | (#41640285)

Nonsense. In today's political and economic climate, idiocy rules supreme. AMD will be allowed to die, and Intel will cite competition in the ARM market in any anti-trust case (of which there will be none).

Re:Not exactly (1)

fm6 (162816) | about a year and a half ago | (#41640217)

Right, because PC makers get together once a month and decide how much business to give Intel and how much to give AMD.

In the real world, PC makers act independently and component manufacturers compete for their business. They never say, "Intel is giving us a better price, but we need to throw some business to AMD just to keep them around."

Re:Not exactly (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41640271)

I got in trouble with my boss for recommending AMD for a solution where in my opinion it was a best fit. It could have turned ugly, but he transitioned to new opportunities and I dodged that bullet. We lost the sale though. We had failed to earn enough trust first.

Re:Damn. (1)

Z00L00K (682162) | about a year and a half ago | (#41639853)

Maybe AMD should look at the product line and see if they can lower the number of models they are presenting. Is it really necessary to have a separate line of server processors?

And when you look at the price/performance ratio AMD is doing well, but that only means that they are more suitable to the mid/low range PC:s.

Re:Damn. (3, Insightful)

lightknight (213164) | about a year and a half ago | (#41640293)

Aside from the botched FX series, AMD is fine in higher-end PCs. However, that last processor line screwed the pooch, and for some odd reason, they bought into the hype / nonsense about low-power devices being "The Next Big Thing," and failed to ready a new top of the line processor. They're doing it to themselves.

As for the server stuff, hell yes they need a separate line. Those 12-core and 16-core processors are selling like hotcakes among University / College net admins, who want as many cores as possible for their VMs / clouds / whatever. No one needs the slight single-threaded performance boost and huge cost disparity that Intel has been offering.

Re:Damn. (1)

Z00L00K (682162) | about a year and a half ago | (#41640317)

My point was rather that they should have those multi-core processors in the general lineup of processors instead. Not killing the multi-core solutions. I wouldn't mind having a 16 core processor but it's still expensive.

There are other things that can be done too - why not have processors with a mix of 64-bit and 32-bit cores? Not all applications are 64-bit. And maybe see if they can do something that is similar to the hyperthreading that Intel has.

Re:Damn. (1)

locopuyo (1433631) | about a year and a half ago | (#41639923)

It isn't just Intel beating them. Intel is beating them in desktop and laptop processors. Nvidia and Intel are beating them in video cards. The tablet and mobile market is expanding as desktop as shrinking and other companies are taking that market share.

Re:Damn. (1)

ericloewe (2129490) | about a year and a half ago | (#41640137)

AMD is more than competitive in the discrete GPU market. Intel is only popular in low-power, and it's still not at AMD iGPU levels.

How about laying off the consultants instead? (4, Insightful)

KingSkippus (799657) | about a year and a half ago | (#41639539)

How about laying off the consultants instead?

I'm serious. Consultants are nothing but leeches, and they will almost always give you advice on how you can make your company just like every other company in your industry. I yearn for the days when companies looked for ways to set themselves apart, to stand out from the crowd, instead of trying desperately to follow lockstep in line with everyone else. Other companies have massive layoffs, so hey, let's do it too!

Especially the engineers. You need engineers to keep doing what you do. This really bodes badly for AMD, because without engineers, they're basically slitting their company's wrists. I'll bet dollars to doughnuts that they're getting rid of the ones with seniority at that to try to save a few bucks on salary while simultaneously bleeding themselves out of knowledge and experience.

But hey, it's their funeral, so whatever gets the stock price up a little bit so that they can cash out their options, right?

Re:How about laying off the consultants instead? (5, Informative)

mewsenews (251487) | about a year and a half ago | (#41639589)

Especially the engineers. You need engineers to keep doing what you do. This really bodes badly for AMD, because without engineers, they're basically slitting their company's wrists. I'll bet dollars to doughnuts that they're getting rid of the ones with seniority at that to try to save a few bucks on salary while simultaneously bleeding themselves out of knowledge and experience.

Early retirement - the perfect recipe for short term savings and long term loss of institutional knowledge!!

Loss? What Loss?! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41639631)

Early retirement - the perfect recipe for short term savings and long term loss of institutional knowledge!!

But, but, its all documented! So even kids right out of school can replace the laid-off engineers when demand comes back.

Sheesh! It's not like they're VP's or something equally irreplaceable!

3. Profit!

Re:Loss? What Loss?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41639763)

Early retirement - the perfect recipe for short term savings and long term loss of institutional knowledge!!

But, but, its all documented! So even kids right out of school can replace the laid-off engineers when demand comes back.

Sheesh! It's not like they're VP's or something equally irreplaceable!

3. Profit!

4. ??????????

Re:Loss? What Loss?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41640035)

Early retirement - the perfect recipe for short term savings and long term loss of institutional knowledge!!

But, but, its all documented! So even kids right out of school can replace the laid-off engineers when demand comes back.

Sheesh! It's not like they're VP's or something equally irreplaceable!

3. Profit!

4. ??????????

5. profit moar!

Re:How about laying off the consultants instead? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41639643)

I'm an engineer software consultant. Typically I'm brought in because I know something specialized (networking, embedded systems), but sometimes I'm grunt labor.

You would be surprised how many layoffs I've survived as a consultant. Companies seem to enjoy canning the regular folks and keep those of us who can be told "don't need u no mo, here's the check, there's the door".

I'm going to miss AMD. I see no way for them to survive, but their dying will be bad for the industry. Remember 10-15 years ago when the AMD chips beat the Intel chips, and forced Intel out of their complacency? With AMD gone where is Intel's motivation to keep the desktop going? Not to mention the graphics part.

Re:How about laying off the consultants instead? (4, Informative)

Spy Handler (822350) | about a year and a half ago | (#41639767)

Remember 10-15 years ago when the AMD chips beat the Intel chips, and forced Intel out of their complacency? With AMD gone where is Intel's motivation to keep the desktop going? Not to mention the graphics part.

You don't have to go back that far. In 2005 I bought an Athlon and it outperformed comparable Pentium 4 Hyperthreading chips. At that time Intel kept upping the clock speed but there was no corresponding increase in performance. My Athlon which was 2.2 ghz (i think) outperformed Pentium 4 HT 3.0 ghz.

It wasn't until Intel came out with the Core2Duo that they began to push AMD aside.

Re:How about laying off the consultants instead? (3, Insightful)

Killall -9 Bash (622952) | about a year and a half ago | (#41640155)

The "Core" core was what put intel back in the lead... and they didn't even develop it themselves. They purchased an Israeli company that was making a new CPU based on the old P-III coppermine core.

Intel was, up until that point, still fighting the MegaHurtz war. This is in spite of the fact that the war had already ended a few years back when the AthlonXP line was easily beating higher clocked P4s. Intel's only answer was MOAR MHZ!!!1, spreading FUD about the performance ratings assigned to the AMD chips, and silly branding schemes that made me smack my head every time someone insisted they wanted a Centrino processor.

I really resent Intel for "cheating" their way back into first place.

Re:How about laying off the consultants instead? (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about a year and a half ago | (#41640169)

The Pentium M was competitive. It wasn't in the high-end market, but it had better performance per Watt than anything AMD had to offer. It took them a really long time to produce anything competitive for laptops - laptop sales had overtaken desktops by the time they did, and they missed out on the period when it was the fastest growing segment.

Intel had the advantage that they had a lot of chips under development. I strongly suspect that the Israeli team that was working on the low-power version of the P3 was underfunded and completely off the radar of Intel's strategists until they suddenly noticed that they desperately needed a decent laptop chip for a growing market and didn't have one.

Re:How about laying off the consultants instead? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41639647)

Consultants are cheaper (for the next quarter atleast), duh!

Consultants are not the devil (4, Insightful)

rsilvergun (571051) | about a year and a half ago | (#41639683)

yes, there are overpaid asshats out there. But most consultants are really just employees without health benefits and unemployement insurance. If you see a company with a lot of consultants that's why. You can fire them at the drop of a hat at no cost. It's a sign of the modern economy, and one of the reasons my political views swing so far left.

Re:Consultants are not the devil (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41639761)

So far center. The world just moved right.

Re:Consultants are not the devil (5, Insightful)

KingSkippus (799657) | about a year and a half ago | (#41639795)

I don't think the kind of consultant you are talking about and the kind of consultant referred to in the summary are the same kind of consultant:

Teams of consultants from McKinsey and Boston Consulting Group are reportedly swarming headquarters to advise the CEO Rory Read...

These are the kind of consultants that tell the CEO that he doesn't need those expensive engineers with health benefits and unemployment insurance. For a reasonable fee (that will end up costing AMD even more money in the long run), these consultants will be able to bring in some of their company's other consultants and not have to worry about silly little things like benefits, thus reducing costs. For the next financial quarter or two--certainly long enough to cash out your stock options and find another job at a company that will pay you more because of your success here--it's win-win!

Re:How about laying off the consultants instead? (1)

FirephoxRising (2033058) | about a year and a half ago | (#41639827)

Losing Engineers and the CFO is already gone...... Bad news. Honestly, if I saw our CFO selling/shorting stock and/or leaving then I'd really panic, they always seem to know what's going on, and when to take their golden parachute!

Re:How about laying off the consultants instead? (1)

runeghost (2509522) | about a year and a half ago | (#41640289)

Forget the consultants, how about ditching the CEO and his $15 million in compensation?

Re:How about laying off the consultants instead? (1)

blind biker (1066130) | about a year and a half ago | (#41639897)

Consultants are nothing but leeches, and they will almost always give you advice on how you can make your company just like every other company in your industry. I yearn for the days when companies looked for ways to set themselves apart, to stand out from the crowd, instead of trying desperately to follow lockstep in line with everyone else. Other companies have massive layoffs, so hey, let's do it too!

Thank you for articulating that though for me so clearly. I've always hated consultants, and their stupid, homogenizing action.

Re:How about laying off the consultants instead? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41640053)

If you want to survive as a chip maker, you should keep an eye on the other chip makers... and AMD should have homegenized (in this case, diversified) a long time ago. They coasted on their strong showing in laptops as desktop sales withered, left the high-margin server market to Intel, and did nothing for mobile.

Now desktops are dead and laptops are slipping... leaving AMD hanging off a cliff by the tips of their fingers. Maybe they should've taken the time to set anchors elsewhere, instead of focusing entirely on having the best budget laptop processor.

You can imagine how brilliant that strategy is looking right about now.

Re:How about laying off the consultants instead? (1)

Killall -9 Bash (622952) | about a year and a half ago | (#41640179)

If desktop sales are dead, its not because people don't want desktops anymore. Its because they already have one, and don't need a new one. Same with laptops.

They are setting up the company for a takeover... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41639931)

I'll bet dollars to doughnuts that they're getting rid of the ones with seniority at that to try to save a few bucks on salary while simultaneously bleeding themselves out of knowledge and experience.

I'll take that bet. I'm pretty sure they are doing the opposite: laying off all the junior engineers, support engineers, and the sales and marketing force in preparation for having some larger company (with their own army of overseas junior engineer worker-bees) take over. The consultants are there to negociate the headcount on behalf of the purchasers, they have nothing to do with the current management or the current product line. The consultants are like the home inspectors that a you hire when you are buying a house...

My guess is that larger company is probably one of Samsung or Qualcomm, secondary guess would be Apple or Microsoft. Both Samsung and Qualcomm have been hiring AMD (ex ATI) folks left and right for the last few months and if they can pick up AMD for a song, they will probably do it. What any of these companies don't need are a bunch of 2-5 year engineers, supporting engineers, nor sales or marketing employees as a purchasing company, they are likely to just abandon all the current (and planned) product lines. The only thing the want is the core engineering assets (GPU designers and high-speed CPU physical design group) and the patents to deploy in their own product lines. The consultants job is to figure out who those folks are. All the bulldozer architects and APU stuff will probably go in the dumper as soon as the deal is closed.

Put a fork in it. AMD as we know it is probably done.

Re:They are setting up the company for a takeover. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41640047)

In the event of a change in control, all of AMD's x86 cross-license deals are void.

Re:They are setting up the company for a takeover. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41640121)

In the event of a change in control, all of AMD's x86 cross-license deals are void.

None of the potential purchasers care one iota about x86 cross-licenses. The will take the high-speed CPU design team and make ARM processors and bury the current x86 product line. They will take the GPU designers and make mobile GPUs.

Re:How about laying off the consultants instead? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41640041)

Isn't RIM basically an engineer-run business? Doesn't seem to be working too well for them. You need people who understand business and sometimes that comes from consultants. And I say this as an engineer.

Re:How about laying off the consultants instead? (1)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | about a year and a half ago | (#41640075)

Third level education typically does not specialise in, and rarely even features, independent thought beyond certain strict boundaries. Essentially its a brain factory. So as the first generation of entrepreneurs moves on and retires, the people who take their place are Properly Qualified and Of The Highest Standard, but they don't know how an entrepreneur thinks, don't like taking risks, and got where they are by doing things according to the book. Consultants don't force CEOs to obey them, the CEOs always make the final decision.

Re:How about laying off the consultants instead? (1)

lightknight (213164) | about a year and a half ago | (#41640305)

Exactly. They should be doubling-down on a new high-end processor design, not shedding employees that know their shit. They appear to be making the same mistakes that HP and friends have made in times past ("Hey, do we even need a PC division?"), which usually happens when you have the wrong people in high places. The company becomes a pump-and-dump, with each new CEO talking about turning things around and not succeeding, while accepting golden parachutes, with slight stock increases followed by larger and larger dips after each new 'message,' while assets are sold / spun off, until the main company is sold off to foreign competitors, and finally buried.

Hope this isn't it for AMD (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41639543)

That whole settlement with Intel wasn't enough...governments should have fined Intel for anticompetitive behavior. Now AMD is just circling the drain. :-(

Re:Hope this isn't it for AMD (1)

qbitslayer (2567421) | about a year and a half ago | (#41639829)

AMD is so focused on competing against Intel that they missed the smart phone and tablet revolution. Few manufacturers need or want their heterogeneous processors. They had their chance and they blew it. It's sad, really.

Re:Hope this isn't it for AMD (1)

symbolset (646467) | about a year and a half ago | (#41640033)

That is exactly not the problem. Buying ATI and the debt involved is what is killing AMD. It was too bold. But given the same options I might have been so bold too. Hindsight is 20:20.

That tears it (4, Funny)

tsotha (720379) | about a year and a half ago | (#41639563)

They hired the two Bobs.

Re:That tears it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41639745)

Try to keep TDWTF out of slashdot, okay?

Re:That tears it (1)

chippey (1300023) | about a year and a half ago | (#41639893)

They hired the two Bobs.

"Good luck with your layoffs, all right? I hope your firings go really well. "

Re:That tears it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41639955)

I'm going to have to go ahead and sort of disagree with you there.

Short term shareholder value (3, Informative)

Phelan (30485) | about a year and a half ago | (#41639565)

What do you do when you are trying to maximize short term shareholder value in a distribution based business?
Cut R&D, get rid of sales staff for new markets...
Hit your profit goal, sell stock, get bonus by the time the company goes under you're long gone with your friends at McKinney.
Usually it takes 3 years in hardware for a R&D cut to show in sales figures... Mark it down also mark down the current CEO will be chilling on his new island by that time

Re:Short term shareholder value (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41639687)

AMD is in the mess they're in right now because their previous R&D didn't pan out. Bulldozer turned out to be a failure and AMD's competitor to the Atom, while better in most regards, is in a low margin segment of the market so even if they did take most of the sales there, it wouldn't help their profit all that much.

What the hell are they supposed to do at this point? The only part of the company that's doing well by any standards is their graphics division (formerly ATI) but that's not going to be enough to keep everything floating. They're going to need to cut somewhere as they're not making enough money to pay the staff that they have. Their best bet is to hold out long enough that someone else acquires the company. Not really sure who'd want to at this point, but their market cap is so low almost anyone could take them over.

Re:Short term shareholder value (1)

qbitslayer (2567421) | about a year and a half ago | (#41639843)

Not really sure who'd want to at this point, but their market cap is so low almost anyone could take them over.

  They got excellent engineers. They should sell themselves to either Apple, Google or Amazon.

Re:Short term shareholder value (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41640019)

I disagree with you on that. Bulldozer was a disappointment, but ultimately it was a necessary disappointment. the articles I've been seeing about the next generation are a lot more optimistic. In the long run APUs are the way that the desktop is going to be going. They haven't been having any trouble selling all the chips they've been producing, they've been having trouble producing enough chips. Now that they're free to contract with any foundry they like, they should be in a better position.

The other thing is that Intel can't afford for AMD to go out of business.

Re:Short term shareholder value (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41640223)

The other thing is that Intel can't afford for AMD to go out of business.

Why the hell not?
Isn't that exactly what Intel tries to do since at least the first Athlon?

Re:Short term shareholder value (1)

HJED (1304957) | about a year and a half ago | (#41640297)

because then Intel would have a monopoly and would be up for anti-trust.

Servers (4, Interesting)

corychristison (951993) | about a year and a half ago | (#41639571)

And virtually all through Q3 I've been trying to get my hands on 4 Opterons 16-core (model 6272 I think).

Only last week Newegg finally received some of the new revised version but were out of stock for months.

Either they overcommitted to OEMs or they simply did not provision enough for people like me. If they were quicker to get the revision out I am sure they could have made up for that 10% drop.

I do understand this article is referring to desktop CPU's but the Opterons are still a part of their bottom line.

Re:Servers (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41639997)

Either they overcommitted to OEMs or they simply did not provision enough for people like me. If they were quicker to get the revision out I am sure they could have made up for that 10% drop.
I am an engineer at Intel. I work on core design and engineering of Intel's latest-and-greatest products, and have seen extensive internal reverse engineering work done on AMD products.

It's incredibly hard to just produce "more" of a new product when the process engineering side is not functioning stably, as we believe frequently to be the case for AMD. You'd be amazed how much a fab's ability to pump out silicon is limited by one or two critical pieces, like a lithography tool which is literally unique in the entire world, will cost $50 million to replace, and cannot be had for love or money in less than 3 months lead time.

Re:Servers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41640001)

The supercomputing geeks and tier 1 vendors got all of the early shipments. Be patient.

Re:Servers (2)

SQL Error (16383) | about a year and a half ago | (#41640265)

Odd. We've been rolling out dual and quad Opteron 6272 servers steadily for the past six months. No problems with supply, and they mop the floor with Intel systems on price/performance.

But we don't buy from Newegg; we go through three vendors Supermicro recommended.

Re:Servers (1)

corychristison (951993) | about a year and a half ago | (#41640291)

I should note I live in Canada. While that doesn't mean I cannot order from US shops, I do have a tendency to only search businesses that have some form of operation within Canada to avoid duties/import fee's.

I did find the odd Canadian online shop that only had 1 or two in stock (or on order). My primary "goto" is NCIX [ncix.com]. They still do not have 12/16 core in stock.

I am not in any immediate hurry to get them, it's actually worked out to my benefit by holding off as now I have access to the latest revision. :-)

Byte the bullet & make ARM chips (2)

Tablizer (95088) | about a year and a half ago | (#41639575)

Have a foot in both x86 and ARM.

Re:Byte the bullet & make ARM chips (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41639925)

With who? The management turds looking for very short term profit, or the engineers they keep firing?

Re:Byte the bullet & make ARM chips (5, Informative)

Rockoon (1252108) | about a year and a half ago | (#41640157)

Have a foot in both x86 and ARM.

You arent very well informed. AMD doesn't fab processors, so cannot possibly fab ARM processors. AMD is like ARM now and only designs processors, but unlike ARM they do not license the design out (probably they cannot, thanks to IP deals with Intel.)

AMD spun off their fab business in 2009, which is named Global Foundries, divesting their last shares in the company earlier this year.

Pussies (4, Insightful)

tsotha (720379) | about a year and a half ago | (#41639583)

Am I the only one who thinks management teams that bring in consultants to do mass layoffs are pussies? If you fuck up a company so badly 30% of the employees have to go, the very least you can do is not hide in the proverbial closet until it's over.

Re:Pussies (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41639611)

Management is probably not that good at determining who should go - especially as in this case it it not so much down to the individuals talent and contribution, rather it is more about his mission and his section and division's mission Managers don't normally do that - they are hired and trained to make tactical decisions.
Also add in the fact managers (at least the middle management) are equally eligible for layoff but are unlikely to recommend their own demise.
I don't see how anyone other than an external consultant could make a halfway unbiased judgment.

Re:Pussies (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41639689)

What makes you think that if they were too incompetent to select the right people for the job and organize things properly,
that now they would be able to select which ones are the right people to get fired and how to organize that properly.

I have seen this exact scenario many, many times before.
The problem here is, that management itself is exempt from the firing.
And as long as that won't change, AMD is in for a long, seemingly endless Bataan death march to bankruptcy.
Only accelerated by Intel kicking them while they lie on the ground.

And usually, that never changes.
What rather happens, is that a small core team of experts goes on to create a new company, which then re-hires much of the old peers, except the idiots.
To then become competitive again.

Unfortunately, that takes *forever*.
So unless ARM and nVidia have some tricks up their sleeves, have fun with the Intel monopoly on desktop PCs for the next 10-15 years. :/

Re:Pussies (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41639783)

ARM do have some tricks up their sleeves, it's just that none of them are going to rid you of your legacy wintel code ball and chain.

This is a common misconception (1)

rsilvergun (571051) | about a year and a half ago | (#41639693)

the top guys aren't hiding. They're you're ruling class. Multi-multi millionaires. The don't suffer consequences anymore than the kings of old. Sure, every now and then one of them pisses off the rest and gets thrown to the wolves (Bernie Madoff). But for the most part you don't spill noble blood.

Re:This is a common misconception (1)

rsilvergun (571051) | about a year and a half ago | (#41639697)

Whoops, I mean "They're your ruling class". That's what I get for touch typing before bed :P.

Re:This is a common misconception (1)

tsotha (720379) | about a year and a half ago | (#41639801)

Bullshit. There's no reason we can't hold them to the same standards as everyone else.

Re:Pussies (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41639905)

If you don't need extra people temporarily to lay off 2200 people at one go you've got way too many people working in your HR department full time.

Bizarro World (3, Interesting)

bignetbuy (1105123) | about a year and a half ago | (#41639597)

So, profits are down and the answer is to lay off the people who bring in the profits? Or the people who build the products that make the money?

How is this right in any sense of the word? Instead of spot layoffs to raise the stock price a few cents, AMD should be focusing on beating the tar out of Intel, Nvidia, and ARM manufacturers. Or wondering why AMD doesn't have a chip that can drive a tablet?

Re:Bizarro World (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41639641)

...Or wondering why AMD doesn't have a chip that can drive a tablet?

That would be one of the "tactical decisions" that the skilled management team at AMD has been hired and trained to perform. Now why are all top-level management not being axed? That's the real question.

Re:Bizarro World (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41639901)

The summary doesn't accurately reflect the article, so as far as I can tell it's wrong.

The article says it will affect employees in engineering and sales, which were not affected by previous layoffs. That's very different from saying it will focus on engineering and sales. And if you cut 20-30% of your workforce after already cutting 10%, you pretty much have to dip into cutting the profit centres.

It sounds like AMD is trending in a very bad way when they're jettisoning a huge portion of their employee base, not just dealing with a few cents of stock price (it's been knocked down way more than a few cents on this news, anyway...). Inspirational thoughts about beating the tar out of all their competitors might not be enough.

It doesn't really matter. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41639627)

Intel will just give them a few billion. Cheaper than to deal with antitrust issues if AMD goes bankrupt.

Re:It doesn't really matter. (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41639765)

I can just imagine this phone call. "Hey Rory, it's Paul. Hey look, we were clearing up some stuff and found this old court case with you that's not settled yet. As you know, our graphics is improving, but still widely not well regarded, and I know we've got some process stuff you'd like to use. I was thinking we could roll up a settlement in the usual cross-license deal to make the NDA stick and throw in a little money to take the sting away... say, four billion? .... Yes, cash. .... Great. I'll have Stacy fax over the forms and we'll see if we can't get the funds transferred by morning. So how's Mary? Are you free for a round of golf next Tuesday? It's been a while."

ATI? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41639659)

Great. I guess /. is where I rant about my recent unprofessional dealings with DiamondMM over a pair of ATI/AMD cards...

A couple years ago I picked up a pair of RadeonHD 5870s to run SLI on my gaming system. They came with 90 day limited warranty from the retailer, and 5yr warranty from DiamondMM after on-line registration. Eight months went by and each card's fan had enough revolutions to suss out a bad bearing. I think to myself, "No big deal, I've got a 5yr warranty!" So I proceeded to contact DiamondMM to begin an RMA process. Except they don't have my registration on file. I found this odd, considering I have been purchasing/registering DiamondMM products going all the way back to their 24mb Stealth VLB cards. Surely they at least have my name on file and can look me up? Nope. I asked to talked to a manager, and after escalating the issue up to DiamondMM's management I was given RMAs for both cards, sent them in, and got them back 3 weeks later. New fans. Manager assured me I was now registered and in the system. Yay!

Well the fans just went out again two weeks ago, and still being under the 5yr warranty I contacted DiamondMM to start the RMA process again. Once again the techs claim they don't have my registration on file (wtf? a manager did the data entry on that last year)! However, this time around the manager wouldn't RMA the cards. Boo! Hiss! I explain that I've been a loyal DiamondMM customer since 1992 and have spent literally thousands of dollars with them over the last 20 years, but will be leaving them and telling the world why if they won't stand by their product.

The real reason I'm commenting on this thread is that the DiamondMM manager explained to me that they don't make their cards anymore, they are literally re-branded reference cards straight from ATI (AMD). He said they literally just put DiamondMM stickers over the ATI stickers. I verified this during my DIY repair job last weekend (I found a guy on Amazon with a surplus of the 75mm fans for ATI 4xxx-7xxx model cards). In retrospect I think maybe DiamondMM has known for over a year that AMD has some serious issues, and I have a sneaking suspicion that my ATI card registrations weren't the only ones to have vanished from their systems.

I have my $800 worth of video cards back up and running as quietly as possible again (and I even picked up 2 spares from Amazon anticipating future failures), but I'm wondering if I should give DiamondMM a break and pin this all on AMD... regardless of the bullshit claims from DiamondMM of not having my registration or any of my info of previous purchases. /rant

Re:ATI? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41639739)

They stopped developing the Linux driver for my 2 year old video card. The existing driver periodically crashes the entire system when playing games fullscreen in Linux (yeah, I'm the guy that tries to do this, but Steam for Linux is also right around the corner.)

I did this to get away from the nVidia experience and it felt like ATI doubled-down on it. I've been willing to pay a premium for competence but it's getting harder and harder to find it.

Re:ATI? (1)

lightknight (213164) | about a year and a half ago | (#41640333)

Huh, didn't know Diamond was still in business. There's a ghost from the past.

Buy from HIS. They tend to care about their card designs, and have a decent warranty. I've bought several cards from them, haven't had any issues with them to date.

Future Monopoly of Intel (1)

AnotherAnonymousUser (972204) | about a year and a half ago | (#41639675)

I'm really interested to know how this affects Intel. If their main competitor is (theoretically) starting to die off as a company, that would naturally push them towards a monopolistic state, simply because so few companies *can* compete any more. Building next gen chips seems like it's an awfully high barrier to entry for a company just getting started. With the prospect of becoming an actual monopoly it seems like Intel would really want AMD to continue thriving in just enough capacity to keep sharpening their claws against them. Throwing it out there for the business-savvy or people who have seen it before in the economy, but what do you do to keep your competitor alive?

Re:Future Monopoly of Intel (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41639773)

The same thing you'd do as a monopoly: keep your prices high and cheap out on research, manufacturing costs, and support. Actually, I said "monopoly", but I suppose you could substitute "publicly-traded company" if you added draining the assets through dividends (while the tax rate on those is still at 15%), running through an interminable stream of CEOs with their golden handshakes/parachutes, and trimming away non-managerial personnel.

Re:Future Monopoly of Intel (2)

slew (2918) | about a year and a half ago | (#41640113)

I doubt there's much Intel could do to keep AMD alive at this point (even if they wanted to).

If they had a fab perhaps Intel could allow them to second source parts (but they spun out Global Foundaries)
If they had something Intel didn't have they could license it (like a mobile GPU which they sold to Qualcomm)
If they had an ARM licence (which they don't and Intel sold theirs to Marvell, so they probably don't really want it anyhow)
If they just gave them money (they already gave them $1B, about 50% of their current market cap)

I don't think at this point Intel can legally do much to keep AMD alive (without violating Anti-trust, and/or their shareholder fiduciary duty)... If you recall several years ago Google was trying some manuvers to keep Yahoo from falling into Microsoft's hand, and they realized there was little they could do for them w/o violating Anti-trust and/or their shareholder fiduciary duty...

Given that the PC market is in freefall right now, there's about 0% chance that there will be any consequence from regulators of being a monopoly in that space. In the server space, they are likely to become a strategic resource to the government (not unlike Boeing or Micron), so they probably can breathe easy in this area as well.

The only remote danger they probably face is someone proposing they get broken up (like AT&T) into a fab business and a chip design business, but given the state of the economy, I don't see anyone in government pushing for that anytime soon.

AMD should stop x86 development (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41639713)

Fact of the matter is that mainstream x86 microprocessors have been good enough for desktop use for the majority of the market for the last several years. With improved process technology, worse microprocessor designs can produce good enough performance. iOS, Android, Linux (Gnome/KDE), OS X and Windows 8 are now somewhat capable of running the ARM ISA. AMD should stop developing new x86 microprocessors, and keep making the current ones for a very long time. ATI should continue to live on. AMD's microprocessor design team should make high performance ARM microprocessor designs for license.

There will be some that demand for high performance, single threaded microprocessors, but that will be a small fraction of the total market.

Bulldozer sucked, the PC is good. (0)

DL117 (2138600) | about a year and a half ago | (#41639845)

They should fire the 'geniuses' who came up with Bulldozer. It was so far behind the i7s, what did they expect?

I strongly object to everyone saying AMD should just make ARM processors. As a desktop users who is an avid flight simmer and graphic artist, I value the high performance desktop PC. Although most of the computer industry has decided to follow the lead of Apple and develop dumbed-down, week, simplistic products, shafting power users like me, they are wrong and the future is not well served by regression in technology

I'm 18, so I'm not cliinging to the past. I simply object to the dumbing down of anything

Re:Bulldozer sucked, the PC is good. (2)

O('_')O_Bush (1162487) | about a year and a half ago | (#41639899)

AMD's fault in was keeping the details hidden before releasing Bulldozer. Bulldozer isn't far off the I7s ( at least, not the 1000$ extremes ), but neither were the Phenom IIs. I7s are impressive, but most is hype and post purchase rationalization.

The problem came when AMD fans started spouting how the Bulldozer chips would stomp on I7s, and AMD didn't stop them.

Also, why did you choose examples of GPU intensive tasks ( those that typically aren't performed on the CPU ) to make the case for keeping around consumer grade, high performance x86 CPUs?

Re:Bulldozer sucked, the PC is good. (1)

Areyoukiddingme (1289470) | about a year and a half ago | (#41640101)

Some kinds of graphic art still require quite a lot of CPU processing. The algorithms either can't or haven't been implemented in GPU versions. Especially in 3D modeling. Until very recently, the major modeling packages couldn't even render their workspace on the GPU, despite that being the ultimate destination of much of the media being worked on. It was all CPU rendered. That has changed, but basically all of the manipulation is still done on the CPU, so a capable processor is still very very useful.

McKinsey? BCG? They are doomed (4, Insightful)

gweihir (88907) | about a year and a half ago | (#41639873)

These people focus on short-term optimizations. AMD needs a strategic fix, not a tactical one. A tactical one will only make matters worse.

Does price point matter for the regular consumer? (1)

dyfortune (1985304) | about a year and a half ago | (#41639933)

I've always prefer AMD due to their low price point (I attribute my ability to buy my first computer to this). Would this matter for the regular consumer, if the salesman makes a better commission off of an Intel powered computer, wouldn't he always try to sell Intel first and talk down AMD.

In other news: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41640017)

Haswell has been delayed by several years.

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