Here's something I'm concerned about. AMD's Carrell Killebrew, part of yesterday's announced layoffs, was a Director of Product Planning for AMD's GPU division. His job, at least as he explained it to me so many times in the past, was to figure out what the next 3 - 5 years of AMD GPUs were going to look like. He's still technically with AMD today, although that will change in the not too distant future.

Carrell is a dedicated guy, he works hard and generally seems to know the right move for AMD in the GPU space. His track record as of late is a good one. The verdict isn't out on AMD's 28nm GPUs, but the last three years of AMD GPU releases have been excellent. They've been competitive and well executed.

When reducing workforce to cut costs, you don't go after your product planners - unless their vision and your vision don't line up. We all know what Carrell wanted for the future of AMD GPUs (as I wrote before, he wanted to deliver a first generation "Holodeck" by 2016), but what does AMD's new CEO want that conflicts with this goal?

Carrell's vision saw the continued growth of the high-end GPU. On November 9th we're supposed to hear more about Rory Read's new strategy for AMD. I am concerned that it may conflict with Carrell's vision. Maybe I'm reading too much into all of this. What do you all think?



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  • RussianSensation - Saturday, November 05, 2011 - link

    "I've seen most of AMD's success with GPUs come from delivering a high-end part at a great price."

    And here is why AMD's GPU division has not been very profitable. They have essentially eroded the brand value of ATI graphics by selling them at lower prices. This is actually a recent development. Historically, ATI has been very successful despite selling high-end parts at a high-price.

    ATI almost never sold their high-end GPUs for low prices to compete with NV, which is why ATI on its own was worth more than AMD is today. The firm was far more profitable in its strategy.
  • jjj - Friday, November 04, 2011 - link

    Not sure if it's even confirmed that he's leaving (any other source besides Icrontic?) and if he is,is he getting fired or he is leaving on his own?

    For example Patrick Moorhead was on that list,yet AllThingsD reported that he "is leaving the company, and according to people familiar with his plans, will be launching a consumer-focused technology analyst and consulting firm around the time of the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January." so maybe he wasn't forced out.

    In any case we'll (most likely) see what changed in AMD's plans on feb 2 next year.
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Friday, November 04, 2011 - link

    He was included in the layoff, I confirmed with Carrell personally last night.

    Take care,
  • Kamen75 - Friday, November 04, 2011 - link

    I am a solid AMD fan and every PC in my home runs both AMD CPU's and GPU's. That said, it seems to me that since the Athlon64 days the majority of AMD's choices have been bad to the point that AMD is still in business despite it's choices and not because of them. AMD should be heavily invested in the ARM SoC market right now but of course they sold out of that market right when the smartphone market was hitting critical mass. an upgraded 32nm "Phenom 3" core would have made more sense than the turd that is Bulldozer on the desktop. I can't express how bummed I am that I won't be getting a new kick-a@@ AMD cpu and 7xxx series gpu for Christmas this year. At least my 2 1/2 year old Phenom ll and overclocked 4850 can still run Skyrim well enough to get me in the game. Reply
  • Beenthere - Friday, November 04, 2011 - link

    As in many other industries product planners always need a crystal ball and a lot of luck to guess at what direction will be the best for the future. In technology fields the target can change in a heartbeat when some new technology catches on be it the internet, social networking, PC appliances or vehicle entertainment systems - just to name a few.

    AMD has to figure out where it wants to be in the technology game. Their resources and capabilities must be effectively directed to maximize profits from these areas while keeping their eye on the future and trying to make the best Biz decisions they can.

    One of AMD's biggest historical challenges has been their Fabs and as we see with GloFo and even TSMC the transition to smaller circuit designs is exponentially more difficult to master. From my perspective AMD's partners need to sort their production issues as much as AMD needs to focus their energies on their core competence.

    It should be interesting to see what direction Read and the board have planned for AMD.
  • tspacie - Friday, November 04, 2011 - link

    A mobile strategy is going to be difficult. Intel seems like the only company that might be able to make x86 work in tablets and ultramobiles due to their manufacturing lead on the industry. NVIDIA, Qualcomm and TI have shown off working Windows on ARM tablets, so you know they have something in the pipeline that could work in these new form factors. I don't see how AMD is going to "cross the chasm" between 'big' computers and 'small' ones. They don't have an architecture or manufacturing process advantage over anyone.

    I agree with everyone else here that pushing out the fellow in charge of product planning for their most successful product seems like a bad move. He might not be the long term future of the company, but they are going to need revenue from his products to invest in their next strategy.
  • eanazag - Friday, November 04, 2011 - link

    I'm hoping that AMD hasn't decided to start hiring from the same pool of candidates that HP does. Letting go of leaders who execute plans in a company that hasn't executed well in the CPU division seems foolish to me. Letting go huge chunks of your marketing and PR when your main product is weak doesn't make sense either. Who is going to try to persuade people to buy the let down BDozer CPU line.

    I was hoping BD would be just a little better so I could go back to buying AMD. I have a Core i5 760 and I am having a hard time making the switch to a BD chip with the power thermals and not quite good enough performance. I am also thinking they would have been better with a die shrink and power gating on the Phenom. I could have reasoned that better. I see some promise with BD and am hoping on Trinity now. Same old story, hoping for the next AMD architecture when they just release a new product. I think Brazos and Llanos have turned out well and look forward to the next iterations.
  • arjuna1 - Saturday, November 05, 2011 - link

    AMD's biggest strength is their refined (as in not brute force) gpu technology cascading down from their high end parts to their low profile and now apu integrated offerings.

    If they intend to let go of that strategy, and seeing the the failure of BD to assault Intel's reign on the enthusiast market, they won't last that long after the 7xxx series are released.

    BD's is being somewhat successful in the usual strong range for AMD, the budget one, so it could true to some extent that they might be intending to put their focus from the mid to bottom markets. If so say goodbye to 8 core IBs

    Their PR and marketing department had it coming for a while now, but I agree that the only reason for Carrel's departure was some kind of collision with the new CEO's view for the company.

    Only time will tell.
  • allingm - Saturday, November 05, 2011 - link

    There must have been a disagreement between Rory Reed and Carrell Killebrew because if there wasn't then firing him would have been a huge mistake. Carrell proved that he could take the company in a new direction which is exactly what AMD needs. If AMD can't beat Intel at its game it needs to shift to beating Intel to the new market. Both AMD and Intel have become complacent and Rory Reed is just seeing this obvious fact. The market is shifting, has been shifting, and will continue to shift. I think part of the problem was that nobody saw the mobile market explode like it has. We all like our hi end GPUs, but that day and age is coming to an end. As somebody involved in the games industry all I have to say is, thank goodness (not about Carrell). Reply
  • Iketh - Saturday, November 05, 2011 - link

    Seems quite obvious to me that Carrell and AMD's plans didn't mesh regarding future APUs. Carrell wants to create novelty items while AMD wants to make money. AMD just can't do both right now. Reply

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