When it comes to AMD, this is the one company that is really a talent when it comes to destroying its own golden gooses.
Sometimes out of knowledge, sometimes out of pure malice, the company’s heart is far from one that was the core when Colonel Sanders was in charge. The company that Sanders lead was always on the edge, but it was that edge that created AMD K7 and K8 architecture (NexGen), it was the edge that went into sponsorship deal with Ferrari and commanded with 45% of 4P server space (for a while). Reactive AMD was the one that stopped investment in 65nm development and kept on milking 90nm process until Intel came out with Core 2 architecture and flat-out destroyed AMD CPUs on both power and performance fields. That reactive AMD is continuously talking about Nvidia’s The Way It’s Meant To Be Played program instead of promoting its own, and of course, that reactive AMD is quick on releasing smart people and relying on AMD’s Sludge as one high-ranked AMD official (still employed by AMD, btw) commented company’s core people in Sunnyvale and Austin.
A while ago, Dave Orton and Henri Richard left the company. Former drove ArtX into limelight and turned ATI Technologies from a “also ran” to a technology and market leader, while Hector Jesus Ruiz can only thank Henri for linking the company with Mubadala Abu Dhabi company and thus, saving up the company that is about to be split in two – as I exclusively wrote here.
However, AMD isn’t exactly a company that is capable of promoting people that turned things around, and it comes as of no surprise that Pierre Brunswick, VP of Sales & Marketing for Russia, CIS and Eastern Europe was let go. Pierre was instrumental in AMD’s sales of Fab 30 equipment to Russians and those $200 million was a key benefactor in stopping AMD from posting yet another devastating loss in Q3’2008.
There is only one small thing that AMD keeps on forgetting – if Intel takes AMD to court in a bid to invalidate AMD’s x 86 licenses, we wonder that will actually stand on AMD’s side of the bench? More and more people are leaving the company and the amount of skeletons they carry around is something that competition can easily scoop out.
At the same time, company is faking Shanghai versus Xeon benchmark results that will be shown to press next week, according to my former publication. Tampering with SPEC scores is something that Apple experimented couple of times and got crucified by technical and mainstream press.
There is just one question that keeps on flying around – with products such as Radeon 4800 series, current 7-series and upcoming 8-series chipset, platforms like Puma – why is this company so keen on invalidating engineering and marketing team’s efforts with continuous bickering and mistreatment of people that are the key drivers of progress in the company.
AMD is the company that launched netbook initiative with OLPC project, and then failed to lead and leave Intel with $200M extra revenue per quarter. But that’s just one example – second one is probably the automotive division, with Nvidia snapping lion’s share of upcoming high-tech interfaces inside cars – AMD was used in Ferrari’s F1 and road cars, but now Nvidia Tegra and GeForce 9 are the ones selected to power 3D interfaces inside numerous Mercs, Maseratis, Ferraris, Audis and soon, whole car lineup from VAG Group (Volkswagen, Audi, Seat, Skoda, Lamborghini, Bugatti, Bentley and of course, groups owner Porsche).
When Nvidia snaps up x86 license (from Transmeta?) and Intel comes out with Larrabee, things are looking gloomier for AMD than they are for Nvidia or Intel. Ultimately, there is just one question: why AMD is so desperately want to be the follower, instead of leader?
Personally, I am spending all of my resources to get my company going, and people that are now in the team stride towards nothing else but greatness, to be #1, to make the difference. Time will tell will we succeed or fail, but one thing is sure – we are not building a company looking to follow others. We’re building a company looking at what our target market needs and more importantly, wants. Thus sadly, AMD cannot be our role model – far from it.
P.S. Number of good people that left AMD since the acquisition of ATi: Dave Orton, Henri Richard, Lorenzo Martone, Andrzej Bania, Peter Edinger, Dave Everitt, Suzy Pruitt, Lars Weinand, Andrea Di Giovanni and many, many others. There are still many bright and creative people that I am talking with, but sadly, the trend is just downwards, not upwards.