AMD CEO vows 'maniacal' chip-baking fix
Customer trust 'eroded', not 'irreversibly damaged'
AMD's newish president and CEO fairly flaggelated himself for his company's failure in execution during its last quarter, a failure that caused Intel's only real competition to do the unthinkable: leave money on the table.
"We saw both 32 and 45 nanometer supply challenges during the third quarter," Rory Read told analysts and reporters during a conference call after AMD announced its better-than-expected financial results on Thursday. "No doubt, we must improve our execution."
Reed attempted to smooth the feathers of investors who are understandably concerned that AMD was not able to meet demand during the quarter. "From an execution standpoint," he said, "you know, and we know, that we faced significant manufacturing challenges in the quarter. Having said that, demand was strong."
But to meet that significant demand, things have to change. "We will continue an aggressive effort with our foundry partner to improve manufacturing performance at this important 32-nanometer technology," he said. "And we are already seeing steady improvement – day after day, week after week. But we are not out of the woods yet."
His promise to investors: "a maniacal focus on execution across the entire company."
One analyst – Glen Yeung from Citi – was concerned that it was possible that the damage had already been done. "Do you sense that there's a longer term impact from that?" Yeung asked Read. "Did you just turn some customers off forever because you screwed it up on the execution side?"
In response, Read insisted that customers were deeply interested in AMD's products, riffing on stats and figures from the company's recent successes in the mobile market.
"Being a customer in my past job," he explained – Read came from Lenovo, where he had been president and COO – "it's about building trust: trust in execution, trust in technology. We have to continue to focus on that – that is 'job one', from my perspective.
"I don't think we've irreversibly damaged that trust at this point," he told the questioner, "but we eroded some of it."
After defending AMD's decision to slow some of its desktop-chip manufacturing in order to support its growing mobile market capacity, he admitted that some customers "felt some of that pain in the third quarter because we weren't able to execute as cleanly as we would like."
After his long, emphatic answer, Read told Yeung: "Sorry, Glen, but I got fired up about that one."
Speaking of "fired" and "execution", one got the clear impression that should AMD again fail to meet its customers' expectations in coming quarters, we might indeed see some firings.
And although Read may not be capable of actual executions, Texas-governor style, should yields not improve he might find himself wishing that such an incentivization tool were available. ®
AMD release a chip aimed fair and square at heavily threaded server loads.
A load of enthusiast sites grab one, run a load of lightly threaded desktop/gaming benchmarks over it and find that, er, it's not very good at that sort of thing. Guess what? Bears shit in the woods too.
When the promised desktop variant ships with its clocks upped, more cache and a ceepie-geepie "Fusion" setup to push FP performance, then we can start to judge.....
Errr yes they have
A few years ago when they had chipzilla running scared.
Surely this is a key impact from spinning out glofo and therefore blame is to be laid directly at AMD's door for loosing control of their own production processes.
I think I found AMDs supply issue.
And I quote:
"We will continue an aggressive effort with out foundry partner to improve manufacturing performance at this important 32-nanometer technology,"
There you go. Get yourself a foundry partner AMD. It'll help.
For those of you reading without sarcasm enabled... Tut tut el reg proofread fail!
Where's the tombstone?
Every Semi that I have worked for or seen in action have been the same. They are all driven by senior management marketing men to deliver the bottom line, with little real interaction with the engineers tasked with getting new products to market.
Middle mangers act like arse licks. Then the engineers have to figure a way to meet the numbers. Corners are cut, reliability goes down, while yield goes up. Great in the short term, but it comes back to haunt you.
One place that I have personal experience of, cut the leverage - the number of gross die per wafer - to increase the % yield. They still shipped the same number of passing die per wafer and achieved the same revenue per wafer, but management were pleased, because yield was up. Twats.
Give AMD a break. It will take time for them to properly figure out the root cause yield issues and that is no small task. I hope the industry recognises that and it was a brave and correct move by them to leave the money on the table rather than ship and be damned.
"Being a customer in my past job," he explained – Read came from Lenovo, where he had been president and COO – "it's about building trust:
This guys still gets work?
Let me break the news, as an actual customer. I couldn't give a flying rat about who the COO of XYZ pc corp trusts, doesn't trust, goes on day spa breaks with etc. When I buy PCs I'm interested in one consideration of my own and I'm not distracted by half eaten fruit, dancing pink radiation suits, or statistics on how many units shipped to businesses with clueless IT depts.
(£ / Ghz + £ / capacity) - your competitors cost for same or nearest quivalent
I *may*, in the event of a tie, pick the one that isn't trying to insult me further with a jingle...