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AMD moves away from Intel rivalry, rethinks course

Advanced Micro Devices is no longer going to focus on its long-standing rival

After years of going up against Intel and not fairing so well, Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) is no longer going to focus on its long-standing rival.

While AMD says isn’t giving up on the x86 market, it’s not going to move forward with Intel in its sights.

Analysts say it’s about time that AMD breaks free from being seen as forever the bridesmaid.

“We’re at an inflection point,” AMD spokesman Michael Silverman said in an interview with the San Jose Mercury News. “We will all need to let go of the old ‘AMD versus Intel’ mind-set, because it won’t be about that anymore.”

In an e-mail to Computerworld, Silverman wrote that the company is rethinking its course.

“Any time a company is more focused on its competitor than what the market wants and needs, it is probably not in a good place for long-term growth” wrote Silverman. “Our CEO Rory Read is driving a shift internally to think beyond the typical and outdated AMD/Intel mindset.

“At the end of the day, we aren’t focused on keeping pace with Intel, we are focused on keeping pace with consumers and the market,” he said. “That is how we are going to win.”

Silverman said AMD executives will offer information on restructuring plans during the company’s scheduled Financial Analyst Day on Feb. 2. AMD first talked of restructuring early in November when it announced it was laying off 1,400 workers, or 10 per cent of its workforce.

With Read now leading the company, it’s no surprise that AMD is looking at changes in its focus, said Charles King, principal analyst with Pund-IT Inc.

“This smells like the company’s new CEO understands that following the old line will more or less permanently lock AMD into an also-ran position against Intel,” said King. “In the end, I believe it’s evidence of the company hoping and trying to be break-out and be judged on its own terms.”

He also noted that the company’s competition with Intel has largely defined AMD — something the company needs to change.

“In the desktop/laptop space, they’ve mostly been considered the lower priced spread to Intel’s sweet creamery butter,” said King. “At this point, the best way to change the game may be to shift the rules. It isn’t the easiest path, but it’s a reasonable strategy given the circumstances.”