AMD takes a $950m hit in Q2
From plucky upstart to just plucked
AMD has bitten the write-downs bullet and will take an $880m impairment charge on parts of its ATI Technologies acquisition in its second quarter results.
The struggling chip vendor revealed the massive write-down in an SEC filing today, which also disclosed a series of comparatively small charges which will nevertheless swell its total write-offs for the quarter to the end of June to $948m.
AMD said the $880m charge came on good will and assets associated with the handheld and DTV units of its ATI Consumer Technologies Business, which it said had not performed to expectation. It said the write-offs would not require any actual cash spending.
However, it will be paying out real cash to the workers it is currently getting rid of as it tries to claw its way back to breaking even. The company will take a $32m restructuring charge in the second quarter, which will mainly cover the cost of dumping staff. It expects further costs as it continues to axe workers, but said these will not be material.
At the same time, it will incur “other-than-temporary investment impairment charges” of $36m, including $24m on its investment in Spansion Inc and $12m on its holdings in Auction Rate Securities.
The only good news in today’s filing was that the figures would include a gain on the sale of some of its 200mm wafer fab tools, which will add $190m to its gross margin. Of course, that begs the question: How much would it make by flogging all of its chip making gear altogether?
Either way, the latest filing gave scant reassurance to investors who yesterday were reading headlines saying the firm was fighting for its life. This morning, they pushed AMD’s shares from yesterday’s low of $5 to $4.80. A year ago, they were $16. ®
AMD pulled a Ballmer with the ATI takeover (I shouldn't have to explain that. Yahoo, Google, Microsoft, all that shit. Same thing). They still make chips with a great value/money ratio, but they kinda have to stop and catch their breath now. That's BAD (for their , hem, image, I mean). But as stated by Zap (and by others, including me sometimes), no matter how more stable Intel stuff might be (not always true, btw), Intel stuff is so pricey that it takes a few years of _theoretical_ enhanced stability to buffer the initial price gap. Not worth on a laptop or a desktop (average lifetime 2-5 years). Worth considering on a server. Provided you're lucky enough to dodge Intel SNAFUs. But. If stability REALLY matters, and you're going to spend some real cash on it, why would you go for a x86 architecture anyway? If you want a cheap thing, go for AMD. If you have the money and want reliability, ditch the x86 thing completely, IBM, Sun and others are literally dying to give you what you want.
It is a shame
It is a shame that AMD can't see that Intel has beaten it at it's own game; giving customers what they want.
Specifically, providing longevity and performance in a family of processors AND leaving room for over clockers.
Last year I was due an upgrade of two PC's at home, one for me and one for my son. The AMD range was being clocked flat out to match the Intel Core Duo 2 chips. I did a spreadsheet of all the CPU's and found that the only way AMD could match the performance was to overclock it which created more heat and more power requirements.
I also looked at what I might upgrade to in a year or so, AMD had not launched it's latest chips but the one thing I new was that it would not be compatible with anything I bought last year, So I bought a low end Intel E2160 and a high end E6750 and 2 Gigabyte motherboards that will support the next generation of 45nm chips from Intel. This means that I can buy a new E8200 as an upgrade and give my E6750 to my son in due course, I can also overclock all of these chips to obtain noticeable improvement without risking overheating. Essentially this means that my computer will last longer and I can upgrade the CPU without changing the memory or motherboard.
When the AMD Phenom™ came out it did not leap frog Intel in Performance and Longevity but rather caught up on the performance. The next Intel range WILL have a socket change and so this is the time for AMD to bring out chips that provide value, performance and longevity whilst keeping the heat down. Keeping the heat down is the new buyer criteria, it leaves room for the thing to provide serious overclocking and for other keeps the chips cool and consuming less power and generating less heat.
I have not seen any tangible benefit to the industry or shareholders from the ATI purchase and think that this should be sold off.
The Industry needs AMD to keep Intel on its toes but it needs to do what it has always been best at; producing compelling performance at a good price with an architecture that lasts, but it needs to do this while keeping the chips cool. AMD is in a David and Goliath role and I hope it comes back but it may take 2 to 3 years as that is how long the average user will get out of his/her Intel investment.
Why Paris, because she bought an AMD Phenom™ on the advice of a friend.
I could afford $4.80 a share!
I'm interested to see how things go in Q3 with the 4800 series of cards selling like hotcakes... and they are hot! You could fry an egg on mine.