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AMD upbeat about future

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AMD Channel Summit, Dresden – AMD may have been in the doldrums in recent months, but its EMEA region continues to show strong growth, particularly within the channel.

In his opening keynote at the chip firm's first ever channel summit, Alberto Macchi, corporate VP for sales and marketing in EMEA, alluded to recent setbacks such as the delay with Barcelona and poor earnings, but was distinctly upbeat about what the coming months hold for AMD.
"Looking back at 2007, I would like to say that history is history," Macchi says. "But AMD is going through a transformation and the key message is that we've moved from being a components company, to being a system solutions company."
Macchi says that this transformation has, in fact, helped AMD grow in the EMEA channel.
"We have continued to grow in the channel and that is very, very important," he says. "We've had tremendous success in the channel not only with components, but with system solutions and we have expanded our footprint, especially when it comes to system integrators."
Looking at the worldwide downturn in desktop growth, Macchi admits that there is a swing towards notebooks, but adds that the demand for desktops is still strong in emerging markets.
"Everyone knows that desktop sales are not growing as fast as they did, that they've gone flat," he says. "But if you look at our region, there are two key points: There is still growth in desktops in western Europe; and there is even stronger growth for desktops in emerging markets such as eastern Europe."
But there's no denying that the major growth today lies in notebooks, he adds.
"There is a very strong change in demand in favour of notebooks – and notebooks are growing everywhere," he says. "In the 599 Euro to 799 Euro price range, for example, we're seeing growth of between 55% and 70%"
Summing up 2007, which could easily be described as AMD's own annus horriblis, Macchi says the company did achieve at least one of its main aims.
"We achieved what was our goal and that was to become a system solution company," he says. "And the change there really came with the integration of our proposition to the market where we can now offer CPUs, chipsets and graphics."
In 2008, Macchi says, AMD's main focus is on being a credible, predictable and sustainable organisation for its partners.
"Phenom is out there," he points out. "And we will continue to introduce new products in 2008. We are gaining share against our competitors in GPUs and some of the new announcements and new products we are going to make will make the technology gap in this area even wider versus our competitors.
"We will continue to deliver on our promise of platforms, and graphics are going to be a key element of these products and solutions.
"On components, we've got a better portfolio, a complete family, to enable strong channel component sales on top of the GPUs they sell and which run not only on AMD's platforms, but also on competitive platforms," Macchi adds. "And with OEMs, we'll continue to expand on our regional penetration.
"In the last year, we have partnered with OEMs in countries such as Poland, Russia, Romania and Bulgaria. We have opened an office in Tel Aviv and we're working towards consolidating some other regional offices.
"All of this helps us and our OEMs to position ourselves better in the market," he says. "Our geographic expansion is very key."
An increase in specific products for the channel is another key priority, Macchi says.
"We already have channel-specific products such as Black Edition which is available nowhere else but through the channel and we are going to expand this number of dedicated products."
Macchi hinted strongly that AMD could finally have turned the corner, that it's dusted itself off, and that it's ready to take on the market again.
"We knew we had to provide solutions and it has cost us a fortune in effort and dedication," he says. "But we're now at a new phase of transformation. It's about profitability, focus, and execution.
"Profitability in good times and in bad times – we're working hard on this," he adds. "Focus. We have to concentrate on what we do best. Execution. After [the problems with] Barcelona, it is now selling very well and we've already started production with new products."