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AMD denies jobs cuts and steals a new CMO from Sun Microsystems

Earlier today, reports began spreading around the Internet that AMD was handing out pink slips to roughly 800 jobs. Various sites quoted sources, but declined to give much information other than the 5% figure.

A reduction in workforce wouldn't seem too out of character for AMD which experienced a rough year following its acquisition of ATI Technologies. AMD reported revenue of $1.77B and a $1.722B loss during Q4 2007. The company also experienced an operating loss of $1.678B. For the entire year, AMD brought in revenue of $6.012B, but suffered a net loss of $3.379B.

Despite the grim financials and new reports of job cuts, an AMD spokesman this afternoon denied that the Sunnyvale, California-based company made cuts to its workforce of 16,000 employees.

DailyTech contacted AMD for comment.  Shortly after the company replied, "We did not have a workforce reduction."

Despite the denial from AMD, there is still the real possibility that AMD could move to reduce its workforce if its Q1 2008 financials look grim. "The point is that the quarter has not closed just yet, so AMD is not likely to make any moves," said Technology Business Research analyst John Spooner. "After the quarter closes, the company will decide what to announce, if anything, with regard to its headcount."

Instead, the company today announced that Nigel Dessau will take over as chief marketing officer (CMO). Dessau spent the past two decades with companies like IBM and Sun and is expected to help lift up AMD's image around the world.

"Nigel’s customer knowledge and experience working for IBM and Sun are tremendous assets as AMD charts a new course for the industry with initiatives such as Accelerated Computing," said AMD President and COO Dirk Meyer. "As we deliver platforms and solutions to best meet our customers’ needs, we will lean heavily on Nigel - who has a proven track record of developing and executing clear, compelling global marketing campaigns."

With Intel’s new Penryn processors on the horizon and an influx of six-core Xeon processors coming by year's end, AMD needs to stay on its toes. The company earlier this month began shipping the long-awaited B3 stepping Opteron and Phenom processors which fixed the TLB bug.

AMD is also on track to release 2.6GHz parts by the fall of 2008 and hopes to transition to 45nm production lines in 2009.

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By MrBlastman on 3/20/2008 2:25:55 PM , Rating: -1
I think this is a 0-net-gain move for AMD.

The problem with them right now is not Marketing, it is their technology. They made a VERY poor decision when they purchased ATI (Nvidia would have been a far better acquisition), they failed to perform up to par with the Phenom (while keeping hush-hush up to the last minute on it), and now instead of pouring money into R&D to pull their performance curve out of a rut, they expect a Marketing guy to save them?

Sounds to me like selling themselves into oblivion. Hector Ruiz was a fine change in leadership a few years ago from their previous Founder/CEO as he pushed AMD to perform, and then exceed expectations.

Lately I haven't seen any of that, but rather blame shifting and shuffling of titles while they go down weird paths as they are simultaneously getting trumped by Intel in performance.

It really is nausiating now to see them instead try and fix it and push more under-performing stuff on us.

Or maybe Marketers are excellent scientists and engineers and they have secretly been taking advanced mathematics and EE courses for all these years without telling anyone?

Great move. Time to get rid of Ruiz. He can have his laurels for helping AMD hold the crown for a few years, but this is absurd.

By Oregonian2 on 3/20/2008 2:35:18 PM , Rating: 2
I don't think having a new marketing guy is 100% of AMD's effort to right themselves as you suggest.

I suspect engineering types haven't been all laid off and that they still are there trying to get good stuff out "yesterday" (which makes it harder to get right, and often makes things take even longer than doing it right the first time -- about 25 years and couple companies ago I once saw a sign on the desk of a colleague engineer that said: "How come we have time to do it over again but not time to get it right the first time?". Well said, I thought).

By Cobra Commander on 3/20/2008 2:35:37 PM , Rating: 2
Agreed but at the same time consumers don't know processors from the stranger they just passed in the grocery store. AMD's marketing has historically been underwhelming and they can only stand to improve (in many ways).

By ThePooBurner on 3/20/2008 10:01:09 PM , Rating: 2
Betting marketing will do more to help them than i think people realize. If i didn't have friends back in the day that used AMD, i would have been many years before i knew who they were and started using their products. You never see AMD commercials, or posters, or anything outside of a few banners on a few websites. If they could get a campaign like "Intel Inside" it would be huge for them. OEMs and White box dealers could then put them in more of their offerings because it would be a name that Joe Shmoe has heard of and won't second guess. That alone would be huge.

By PAPutzback on 3/20/2008 2:59:55 PM , Rating: 2
I agree that Ruiz was not doing to much. And I somewhat agree they are behind in Tech but you have to give them credit for fighting so well againt the Intel machine.

And for the low power users out there or people building HTPC machines AMD is still the best way to go IMO.

The gigabyte boards with 690G and 780G integrated graphics can't be beat by intel when you look at what you can get for the dollar. Not to say that Intel's future plans for integrated video won't beat that though. But that is the future.

By MrBlastman on 3/20/2008 3:07:34 PM , Rating: 2
Companies have been trying to push integrated graphics as the future for years. It might be there for your typical end-user but I don't see it being the defacto standard for Gaming/performance snobs any time soon.

I hope they (Intel and AMD) prove us wrong.

I give them credit as far as their share price and sales/revenue are doing. They've been doing poorly.

It hurts to see this - it really does, as I've bought nothing but AMD for years. I don't plan on moving to Intel, but as an AMD supporter, I should be upset with them letting their performance fall to the wayside by such a wide margin.

By Lonyo on 3/20/2008 3:09:35 PM , Rating: 2
Marketing is what AMD have needed for a long time.
Ever wonder why they found it difficult to get even 25% of the market when they had a superior product to Intel? Was that due to technical failures?
AMD needs marketing as much as they need anything else, and anyone with a brain should know that.

How much does Intel spend on development of new technology (both CPU's and fab research)? LESS than they spend on marketing.
So you're right, marketing clearly doesn't matter. That's why the market leader is doing a hell of a lot of it.

By clovell on 3/20/2008 3:41:19 PM , Rating: 2
I get sick of everyone pointing to the acquisition of ATi as the downfall of AMD. ATi was an expansion of AMD's mass market. Enthusiasts may see it as a waste, but AMD was able to really get something out of it. See: 690G, 780G, Radeon HD3xxx series, and every Wii manufactured using ATi GPUs.

R&D doesn't automatically scale upwards just by virtue of granting it a larger budget, especially in fields as technical as microprocessors.

Ultimately, I really think AMD lost its step on Intel when it decided to go with AM2 - it wasn't a bad move, but the timing could not have been worse. Anybody who has ever ran even an amateur drag race knows the price you pay when you put the clutch in at the wrong time. But, that's just my opinion.

By Ringold on 3/20/2008 6:54:27 PM , Rating: 2
I agree. There are a few decent reasons that come to mind when I think of why AMD is faltering, but purchasing ATi isn't one of them.

Sure, they took on debt to get it done, but debt is no problem if a firm has decent products generating decent income. Debt isn't necessarily a dirty word.. despite 4 letters.

By psychobriggsy on 3/20/2008 4:17:10 PM , Rating: 2
Marketing is what will bring money into AMD, not technology.

The P4 was a pile of steaming toss (compared to other options available at the time, apart from early on when it initially bammed itself to over 3GHz), but excellent marketing made it a success for Intel.

AMDs marketing is beyond dire, this move will hopefully raise their public perception.

By jtesoro on 3/21/2008 9:21:02 AM , Rating: 2
I don't know anything about the background or capabilities of the guy they got, but I'm just not sure if someone from Sun is the best bet. As far as I know, Sun's not exactly known for its marketing either.

"My sex life is pretty good" -- Steve Jobs' random musings during the 2010 D8 conference
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