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Print 27 comment(s) - last by nuarbnellaffej.. on Nov 7 at 9:46 PM

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

In August, AMD announced that it was getting making former Lenovo President and COO Rory Read its new President and CEO. At the end of October, AMD announced that its net income of $97 million was constrained by yield issues with its 32nm manufacturing process.
 
Now the company has announced that it will axe 10 percent of its global workforce as a part of a new restructuring plan that will eventually save $200 million in operational expenses for calendar year 2012. AMD also plans to sever some of its contractual obligations to save money.

 
"Reducing our cost structure and focusing our global workforce on key growth opportunities will strengthen AMD's competitiveness and allow us to aggressively pursue a balanced set of strategic activities designed to accelerate future growth," said Read.
 
The restructuring plan will also allow AMD to focus more on cloud computing, emerging markets, and low-power systems. The focus on lower power consumption is a key as companies like HP are now looking to low-power ARM architecture for upcoming server products, which could spell trouble for traditional x86 processor manufacturers like AMD and Intel.

Source: AMD



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Been there, done that!
By Sylar on 11/3/2011 11:38:25 PM , Rating: 1
"Reducing our cost structure and focusing our global workforce on key growth opportunities will strengthen AMD's competitiveness and allow us to aggressively pursue a balanced set of strategic activities designed to accelerate future growth,"

Didn't they also did layoffs in 2008 & 2009? How did that work out? Man it irritates me how companies think they can word in such a way as if they are doing it to "strengthen" their business. No you are trying to save money to appease your shareholders.




RE: Been there, done that!
By Beenthere on 11/4/2011 12:40:21 AM , Rating: 2
Unfortunately you are correct. Read is trying to convince Wall Street that he has taken charge and that all will turn out fine, which should improve share price and stockholder value including the shares executives receive. It will allow AMD to clean out the non productive folks however and that is usually good. I wouldn't read too much into the press release other than AMD plans to remain profitable now that they don't have the overhead costs of GF.


RE: Been there, done that!
By Reclaimer77 on 11/4/2011 1:42:10 AM , Rating: 1
Would you rather them just close their doors forever? I never understood why people get worked up over layoffs seemingly ignorant as to the root cause of them. Look around, AMD doesn't have many options. Net income of 97 million? That's shockingly bad. Truly disturbing!

I'm actually very concerned. Bulldozer was a huge bust and AMD has barely been competing with Intel these past few years. If you could even call it competing. If AMD has to ditch the X86 CPU side of things, we're all in trouble. If they have to fire some people to keep their margins where they need to be, oh well, that's just how business works.

quote:
Didn't they also did layoffs in 2008 & 2009?


Hey, dumbass. Who the hell DIDN'T do layoffs in 2008-2009? Notice the unemployment numbers? We're facing not just a terrible recession here, but a global crisis.

If you want to argue that the way everyone does business is wrong, well fine, good luck with that. But don't sit here and lay your ignorant trip on AMD and make them the bad guy.


RE: Been there, done that!
By kc77 on 11/4/2011 7:05:55 AM , Rating: 2
The irony is that AMD has actually been turning a profit the past 3 or 4 quarters. Something it has never done. That's before the layoffs.

It matters WHO is leaving or getting axed. Just firing people for short term gains is a really really good way to be hurting later. How in the world are you going to be able to design anything if you don't have people?


RE: Been there, done that!
By Amiga500 on 11/4/2011 7:10:45 AM , Rating: 2
Yip.

If the can keep hold of the brighter folks, get rid of pen-pushers and allow the really good technical guys to take charge of R&D and push directions it can be a really good thing.


RE: Been there, done that!
By Gungel on 11/4/2011 9:41:05 AM , Rating: 2
I read yesterday that most layoffs will come in PR and marketing.


RE: Been there, done that!
By B-Unit on 11/4/2011 10:50:40 AM , Rating: 3
O poo...

We all know AMD doesn't have a marketing department. ;)


RE: Been there, done that!
By bruce24 on 11/4/2011 12:31:49 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Something it has never done


Yes the have, multiple times, it's just the last time was before they bought ATI, which was a long time ago.


RE: Been there, done that!
By Reclaimer77 on 11/4/2011 12:55:15 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
It matters WHO is leaving or getting axed.


Well for starters pretty much everyone who had a hand in cranking out that turd called Bulldozer. Seriously, their entire market position was riding on that and what a dud it turned out to be. There's just no excuse for spending what precious little R&D funding the company has and releasing something that performs worst than their previous chip.


RE: Been there, done that!
By kc77 on 11/4/2011 9:21:31 PM , Rating: 2
True. However, it seems they aren't the only people. To have people leaving from their GPU division is a blow and a pretty big one.

It looks like the board is focused on short term gains. They are either going to sell assets or are preparing for a merger. You don't clear out all of marketing or PR unless this is the intention.

There is always the possibility that they are completely restructuring but unless they bring on some heavy hitters in both CPU and GPU development, much less software I'm leaning to this being the case.

If they are going to focus on ARM development then they should be hiring some people in order to change their focus. If we don't see this then the writing is on the wall.


RE: Been there, done that!
By Mizerable on 11/4/2011 9:29:08 AM , Rating: 4
Look i don't know why there is such an aversion towards pleasing shareholders, but they're the legal owners of the company and legally the managers have a fiduciary duty to SHAREHOLDERS above all else....


RE: Been there, done that!
By kitonne on 11/4/2011 10:27:59 AM , Rating: 2
Short term - yes, it may rise share price. Long term, it may kill the company, as layoffs de-motivate people, make the survivors look for other jobs, and without ***people committed to the company*** any short term gains will be reversed in the long run.

I know they do not teach this in MBA classes, but people are not something you can hire and fire without long term consequences, and this hidden cost is nowhere to be found in Wall Street analysis.

Guess it all depends which class of shareholders you really want to please - day traders, for which layoffs are great news, or long term investors, who care about growing the company, and for whom laying off people and demotivating your workforce when you are in the middle of something critical (read keeping the low power APUs on track, fixing the buldozer, keeping ATI graphics as market leaders) is very bad news.


RE: Been there, done that!
By Pirks on 11/5/2011 12:14:14 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
without people committed to the company
There are no committed people in the business these days, everybody knows they could be fired on a whim and hence betting your own future on your company is extremly stupid. I've been through quite a few software engineering jobs in my life and my attempts in the beginning to stay loyal to my company and stay in till the end were always "awarded" with abrupt termination of employment during cost cutting "optimizations". Since these early days in late 90s I learned to always be on lookout for a new job and jump the ship the moment I see better deal. I've done that many times and you won't believe how much better is that to leave the company on your own terms instead of being kicked out in an instance without any warning whatsoever. So anyone staying "loyal" is just asking for another cost optimization masked ass rape. Whatever I'm glad I learned my lessons and I'm not with the losers who stay "loyal" to get ass raped later. Commitment may only work with a woman, and even then not for all of them, but commitment in business? Excuse me ya naïve children, I have serious (job market research) work to do, bye!


RE: Been there, done that!
By FITCamaro on 11/7/2011 11:12:45 AM , Rating: 2
The fact that you're employed at all is just as amazing as the stupidity of many of your comments.


RE: Been there, done that!
By nuarbnellaffej on 11/7/2011 9:46:33 PM , Rating: 2
He made some good points, and you didn't address any of them.


AMD needs to get their ducks in order
By Ryrod on 11/4/2011 1:29:50 AM , Rating: 3
The biggest problem is that they need to put out a product that is actually good. I love AMD all the way back to the thunderbird days and built tons of systems around the athlon 64, but bulldozer just stinks. AMD should not be complaining about the windows operating system not being able to take advantage of the "modules," they should be producing a competitive chip to combat intel and their sandy/ivy bridge processors. Continually cutting the workforce to please wall street isn't going to help that. You can cut all the workforce you want, but there is a finite amount of employees. Sorry AMD, but a better solution is to build a better processor.




By ekv on 11/4/2011 5:00:51 AM , Rating: 2
You would think AMD would be hiring more people after ... bulldozer [sorry, words fail me at what a boondoggle it is -- I was hoping for better, but at the very least, not quite-poor].

I'm not so sure I'd fire the engineers responsible for BD, although it does border on incompetence to let the design get that bad, that far. But it is also an expensive lesson for them. I think, now, Meyer saw the writing on the wall and ultimately took responsibility. Though without strong leadership AMD now simply concedes the Halo to Intel as far as performance CPU's. There's a business case to be made for dogging the heals of your competition -- even though it's common knowledge Intel's process technology is unparalleled.

And like you said, complaining about windows is dum, with a "b". Write a software work-around. Hard, but not infeasible. Unless your firing engineers and keeping lawyers. [Which appears to be Apple and MSFT's stragedy].

Perhaps it is a corporate culture of accepting half-ass solutions? or CYA? Although Llano has merit, so that's not really it.

AMD needs what we used to call a come-to-Jesus meeting and get their situation figured out. Fast. [Of course, this whole country does, but that's another story].

Hire some engineers away from Intel, if nothing else.


RE: AMD needs to get their ducks in order
By Da W on 11/4/2011 9:18:59 AM , Rating: 2
The only mistake AMD made is to release Bulldozer to the desktop enthousiast crowd. This chip wasn't built for them, it's a server chip. And look carefully at the benchmarks, BD rivals Core i7 2600K in some multitasking. But Anandtech nailled the problem with this chip, we are left to wonder if a Phenom II X8 wouldn't have performed better.

It's also futile for AMD to devote ressources to catch up with Intel in single treaded performance. Intel is way too far ahead and AMD has 1/5th of Intel's R&D ressources to spend on CPU-GPU-APU-Chipsets. And single tread is a thing of the past. When you design an architecture that will be your base for the 5-8 years to come, you design it for multitasking.

The future is fusion, to use AMD own words. The problem is that everybody compares AMD to Intel only, but they enter competition with Nvidia, Qualcomm, texas instrument and Samsung in the SoC space. And if everybody cheers for Nvidia with their lackster ARM cortex A9 performance (compared to Qualcomm) and equal GPU experience to AMD, and believe that we will soon have Nvidia powered Windows 8 desktops, then i think AMD sure has a shot with Bobcat and Llano.


By kitonne on 11/4/2011 11:12:52 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
It's also futile for AMD to devote resources to catch up with Intel in single threaded performance. Intel is way too far ahead and AMD has 1/5th of Intel's R&D resources to spend on CPU-GPU-APU-Chipsets. And single tread is a thing of the past. When you design an architecture that will be your base for the 5-8 years to come, you design it for multitasking.


Not so sure about that... AMD stayed in shouting distance of Intel because on their better micro-architecture and in spite of Intel's better process. They HAVE TO invest in making their single thread execution as fast as possible for a given clock speed range, if they want to stay in the chip designing business.

True, AMD has less resources then Intel, but so far their strategy worked (they are still in business, right?). Their oncoming new APUs have a decent shot of competing in tablets, and they own the budget laptop market segment (where the volume is) with their current APUs. I have also seen comments that a fix for Buldozer is in the works to improve performance.

This is why these layoffs are so poorly timed. They will distract everybody inside the company and may impact the do-or-die projects currently in the pipeline.


By Reclaimer77 on 11/4/2011 1:07:50 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
The only mistake AMD made is to release Bulldozer to the desktop enthousiast crowd.


That's like saying the i7 wasn't "meant" for desktop's. The thing is though, the i7 doesn't run like a pile of SHIT on single threaded apps, but Bulldozer does.

Sorry but I cannot agree that Bulldozer is some "server chip". With THOSE power consumption numbers? I think not! Also Bulldozer comes in many different flavors of cores, it's not JUST an 8 core design. They even went out of their way to avoid a new socket so many desktop users could switch to Bulldozer without a new motherboard purchase.

Releasing a server only next generation design and leaving the AMD faithful with nothing new for the desktop since the Phenom II? I don't see how that would have been a good move. Bulldozer was the right move on paper, but obviously something went WAY wrong in the architecture and implementation of the design.


By someguy123 on 11/6/2011 7:36:52 PM , Rating: 2
It's not a server chip either. It's worthless. The cache latency is substantially higher and the front end is 4 decode, or 2 decode shared per core vs 3 on thuban.

The only reason it manages to maintain "comparable" performance is because it is overclocked substantially with turbo, which also substantially increases its power draw. Shrinking thuban and just shoving in additional cores would've likely created a superior processor.

Even in a perfect scenario, bulldozer would not succeed. AMD's just attempting damage control when blaming microsoft's scheduler for their problems.


By tamalero on 11/4/2011 12:10:25 PM , Rating: 2
actually..
check this article.
Seems the thread schedulers of Windows 7 and lower, do not favor the thread logic of the Bulldozer core:

hardware.slashdot.org/story/11/10/28/1658212/smar ter-thread-scheduling-improves-amd-bulldozer-perfor mance


Cloud Computing?!
By kitonne on 11/4/2011 10:56:06 AM , Rating: 2
Can somebody PLEASE help me understand what is the relationship between Cloud Computing (big reliable server farm somewhere on the net running sand-boxed applications with automatic load balancing and fail-over redundancy, used by people without the capital to build and run their own) and a CPU/GPU/APU designer and marketing company (no longer chip maker, as they have no fabs nowadays) like AMD?

I see no correlation whatsoever, unless AMD plans to help free software projects related to clustering and private cloud computing out of the kindness of their hart, or plan to compete with Amazon's EC...

As their CEO says that Cloud Computing is something really BIG for AMD's future, there must be a link somewhere, but so far I failed to find it....




RE: Cloud Computing?!
By B-Unit on 11/4/2011 12:20:02 PM , Rating: 2
Um, maybe the CPUs that those cloud servers run on?

Just a crazy thought...


RE: Cloud Computing?!
By Taft12 on 11/4/2011 5:16:31 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Can somebody PLEASE help me understand what is the relationship between Cloud Computing ... and a CPU/GPU/APU designer and marketing company ... like AMD?


Leaving Opteron's considerable marketshare aside, are you forgetting about the client-side devices that would connect to those servers in the cloud?

Why would AMD "plan to compete" with Amazon EC? Amazon isn't a competitor of AMD's, they are a customer!


I have only one question.
By YashBudini on 11/4/2011 12:45:35 AM , Rating: 2
What, if anything, has AMD learned from Foxconn?

Hey, it's just a question.




By kitonne on 11/4/2011 10:09:10 AM , Rating: 2
It is so much easier to just fire and hire new people instead of spending the same severance pay on re-training your existing engineers. In addition, an 11% RIF greatly enhances loyalty from your remaining work force. /sarcasm off/

Seen this movie before - after a 10+% RIF, whoever was not let go will look around, and jump ship if given an opportunity to do so. Without the RIF, a lot less people would even dream of looking for other positions. And the people who leave, are usually your best performers, not the next in line at the bottom of the barrel, as they are the ones asked to pick up extra work for no extra pay and reduced job security, and have the best chances of finding another job.

AMD already has some nice products - their APUs are in very high demand, and there is a reason for it. So, instead of focusing on what works (like fixing performance issues in "Bull-dozer" CPUs and further improving the APUs, maybe adding ECC memory support to their video engines so they have a better chance of catching up with NVIDIA in HPC applications), they want to go chase a low margin, already crowded market, in which they have no prior experience, like ARM. BRILLIANT! I can now see that the new CEO is really earning his pay....

Re ARM-64 servers - they look more like a solution looking for a problem, given the current state of virtualization and capability of moving workloads on demand across physical nodes, then a highly desirable, high growth and high profit margin market. They will certainly find some buyers, but percentage wise, compared to Xeon or Opteron based servers, I doubt they will amount to much. You need a very compelling $$$ argument for a new architecture, and for ARM servers, cost savings are questionable imho - the delta in CPU cost is a very small number compared to the total hw and sw cost associated with a new server, and power savings are largely negated by the advances in virtualization, given the delta in processing power between ARM and Xeon / Opteron CPUs. When/if you can consolidate 3-5 ARM servers on a single Xeon / Opteron server, I highly doubt there are any price or operating energy savings, and you have less possible points of failure.

I really like AMD, and used their CPUs in all my home computers for 20 years (since their 286 CPUs), but I am highly skeptical of this new direction. They may loose focus as their best people will be shifted away from core products to chase money-loosing propositions dreamed up by marketing drones and a new CEO eager to show that he is "doing something to fix the company" (clue - AMD is not a dog or a cat, and "fixing it" may require a different set of skills). Letting people go after they managed to turn around the company and have a couple of positive quarters in a row is the wrong message to send to the rank and file...




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