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AMD boss keeps schtum on manufacturing restructure

Meeting doglegs to pointlessness

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AMD's annual shareholder meeting today could have been an excellent time to elaborate on the company's plan to reverse course from an extremely rough 2007.

The chipmaker suffers from six consecutive quarters of operating at a loss, deflated stock, and has a massive workforce lay-off scheme in play. For a year now, AMD has vaguely hinted at a piece of the cure in an "asset smart" strategy to reorganize its manufacturing operations -- yet details haven't been exactly forthcoming.

That's why investors and analysts were seeking a bit more substance from CEO Hector Ruiz in shareholder meeting today in Austin, Texas. What they got in his 20-minute speech was more vapory optimism and a chat about golf.

"Our plans are bold, and progress is ongoing," Ruiz said. "And I hope to communicate additional details of this complex undertaking in the very near future."

He suggested the company will better focus on its core products by "doing fewer things better."

Speculation about AMD's manufacturing changes range from plans to rely more on outside fabs, to breaking up the company. AMD has refused to comment on the issue, and today's speech was not the venue to open up.

Indeed, the sole question from a shareholder was about why AMD doesn't sponsor professional golf tournaments for publicity. We kid you not.

Ruiz reaffirmed the company's promise to be operationally profitable by the second half of 2008. AMD also plans to exit operations proven to be stinkers.

"We are intensely scrutinizing our non-core businesses and revisiting their strategic fit into our plans," he said.

The meeting came a day after the company outlined its server chip roadmap for the next few years. Those plans include a 12-core chip code named "Magny-Cours," using AMD's next generation socket platform. ®

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