AMD's Financial Analyst Day is under way and we're currently hearing from Rory Read about the future of the company. Specifics and roadmaps will follow, but the fundamental shift is outlined below:

AMD used to focus on PC clients and servers in mature markets. It used OEMs as the primary delivery vehicle for its products. Going forward AMD wants to focus more on client mobility, not smartphones but ultra thin notebooks, tablets and other similar devices. Rory was very clear to point out that AMD has no intentions of competing in the ultra low margin smartphone SoC space, but there's a lot more to mobility than just that. We'll still see a cloud computing focus from AMD, which makes sense as the server business has always been very profitable. AMD will also focus more on emerging markets (Brazil, Russia, India, China, etc...) rather than just the mature markets as that's where a huge amount of growth will happen in the future. From a product standpoint, AMD is really focusing on its mainstream and entry level APUs. Rory didn't come out and say it here but no where in AMD's future direction is a focus on the high-end x86 CPU space. 

Also note that AMD isn't going to be as focused on delivering high performance products on the absolute latest process node. It views Brazos as one of its biggest successes to date and that architecture was built on a 40nm process with an easily synthesizable architecture. It's likely that the future of AMD is built around more of these easy to manufacture SoCs rather than highly custom, bleeding edge CPUs.

AMD plans on leveraging OEMs to deliver its products but it also wants to explore other routes as well. Rory referenced the game console model, where AMD would sell an ODM a chip solution tailored specifically to their needs. AMD wants to use this model to complement the more traditional route of selling its products. The transition here makes sense if you look at the current tablet space. The SoC players in tablets effectively follow the game console model. You buy a tablet that has an SoC that's custom tailored to its needs rather than buying a system with a myriad of CPU options.

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  • A5 - Thursday, February 2, 2012 - link

    Once it became clear that Intel was successfully executing their tick-tock strategy, it seemed pretty much inevitable that AMD was going to have to retool themselves.
  • Taft12 - Thursday, February 2, 2012 - link

    I don't know what's sad about it. Intel won the war, but desktops and laptop CPU shipments are steadily declining and are never coming back.
  • Sabresiberian - Thursday, February 2, 2012 - link

    Really. What do you base this on, sales during a major recession?

    I don't think it's inevitable, and the only reason Intel won any kind of war is because AMD gave up. Those of us that like to build our own long for the days when AMD had a vision and bested Intel, and what is sad to us is that AMD has basically said it won't try to develop the kind of technology we like to use.

    Sure, it will all be obsolete some day, but that day isn't tomorrow.

  • GTVic - Sunday, February 5, 2012 - link

    Maybe he can also predict global warming based on last week's weather.
  • umbrel - Thursday, February 2, 2012 - link

    The high end segment is small and even the mainstream and entry level processors have enough power for almost everything.
    Considering that Intel is lowering the TDPs in the IVB family instead of going for higher freqs, seems like now everybody agrees that computers are fast enough now.
  • know of fence - Thursday, February 2, 2012 - link

    With the same architecture, lower TDP is result of lower frequency, lower frequency allows more dodgy 22nm silicon to be binned and sold, thus improving yields. Furthermore they can completely silence the competition with the improved power consumption argument.
    While Haswell has more room for improvement. With no competition it's win, win, win all around for intel ...

    "Fast enough" chips target only throw-away tech, like tablets, TV boxes, netbooks and the like.
  • Sabresiberian - Thursday, February 2, 2012 - link

    If you read a little science fiction, you can begin to get an idea of where the human imagination can take us. Faster-than-light travel and matter transmitters may not ever be possible (though I wouldn't bet against it), but much of what else you read in SF is, and will be done. Technology is being worked on today that will make the current CPUs look like abacuses. The "supercomputers" we have now will be reduced to the size of smart phones. IBM's "Watson" is just the beginning in intelligent computers - expect to see androids that you can talk to like a human in our not too distant future.

    We've really only just begun to develop CPU technology.

  • Risforrocket - Thursday, February 2, 2012 - link

    In fact, much-faster-than-light travel is possible and will happen as well as energetic transformation of matter through space-time as we don't understand it. And our computer technology is indeed in it's INFANCY. Excuse me but how silly to think otherwise.

    If AMD quits, some other company will step in. Intel will never stay on as the only company to make leading computer technology. In the very least, try to understand that what the leading computer technology will become is not the same as it is today. This alone indicates that Intel as we know them today will not last.

    I have been saying that Intel needs AMD. Now we will all see why, in coming years.
  • kingius - Tuesday, February 7, 2012 - link

    Nah, this is the beginning of the decline of the CPU. Without much competition driving Intel forwards, it will slow down the development process.

    And as for science fiction, well there is one problem... energy. We're running out of fossil fuels fast and without them, you can't even make parts for machines that break, never mind propel a vision of the future forwards. We're already passed peak oil.
  • ViRGE - Thursday, February 2, 2012 - link

    "Rory referenced the game console model, where AMD would sell an ODM a chip solution tailored specifically to their needs"

    There's one problem with that: console manufacturers don't buy chips, they buy designs. They want to be in charge of their own manufacturing, as they don't want to dilute their profits any more than they have to. Just look at the 360: AMD isn't making Xenos, MS is having someone else do it. All AMD gets is a very small royalty per GPU.

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