Is AMD a real company?
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December 12, 2012, 08:21 AM
HardwareCanuck Review Editor
Join Date: Feb 2007
So, this is going to be a somewhat long response but let me preface it by saying that I disagree with the lion's share of your points.
What if you, as a company, can monopolize on a lucrative industry while avoiding costly governmental interference? What would be the best way to go about it?
See Apple's strategy. They basically hide behind the cloak of what should be bogus patents in order to game the system into granting them near-monopolies. THAT is the way companies go about it these days.
AMD vs Intel: AMD exits from chip manufacturing and buys from TSMC, whom are always one generation behind Intel. They can only focus on low-end, low profit products while Intel can sell newer, more powerful, smaller and cheaper products for a higher profit margin.
That means Intel makes the cake, eats %95 or higher of it, and feeds AMD enough just to barely keep it alive. AMD is acting as an independent branch of Intel that caters to a small market that Intel has no intention of entering. That's Monopoly while avoiding the regulatory restrictions of one.
Intel got to where they are due to savvy business decisions and focusing on their core markets. Granted, there were a touch of bullying, which they ended up paying dearly for. On the other hand, AMD has been led by a successive string of lame-duck CEOs who didn't listen to their core management. As a result, they lost focus, ended up releasing several late or failed products (1st generation Phenom anyone?) and ultimately ended up falling behind the competition.
Personally, I liken Intel to a massive bus that doesn't change direction very easily but ends up leading the pack since it has a clearly defined game plan and has critical mass on its side. AMD on the other hand SHOULD have been that nimble little Fiat which can take corners and change direction like no one's business. It would have allowed them to better adapt to changing market conditions. That didn't happen. Instead, they tried to be Intel and look where that put them.
Ultimately, AMD's current position is their own fault. If there is a monopoly, it has come about because of AMD's failures rather than Intel's successes. Why should Intel be punished for that?
AMD vs Nvidia: Both AMD and Nvidia purchase their chips from TSMC. Both companies seem to trade blows fairly, but for most of the year, many consumers as well as I were appalled to see that AMD manufactured power hungry video cards that do not match Nvidia's cards' performance, quite the opposite of what we're used to. Only to find out by the end of the product cycle that AMD's cards are more powerful, but due to non-optimized drivers did not show their true strength. Add in the overpricing in the beginning of the product cycle and you have a definite path to failure, or just willfully handing over the market share to your competitor.
There isn't any willingness towards failure here. I still contend that AMD is currently a half generation behind the competition. NVIDIA built in a boatload of GPGPU capabilities into Fermi and as a result, it became a stupidly hot running, power hungry monster. When compared against the HD 6000-series, which had comparatively very little compute backbone (ie: die space taken up by a massive cache, setup engines, etc) of course it looked inefficient.
Kepler is the first dual branch architecture which distinctly separates gaming / professional and compute brands (in this case GeForce / Quadro versus Tesla). This has allowed them to utilize a 28nm manufacturing process to create dedicated product stacks, ultimately lowering power consumption and increasing yields in mass market SKUs.
The HD7000 series meanwhile is going through the exact process which haunted Fermi: how do you build compute into your architecture? Well, by throwing die space at it! This isn't a failure in any way. It is a simple bout of growing pains which will lead to another subset of advantages in the upcoming Sea Islands architecture.
What kind of idiot builds a V8 Cadillac and throws a wrench in the engine and charges %20 over its competition before selling it? Either AMD is that idiot or they are not allowed to sell a better product than Nvidia for most of the year. Maybe this Christmas is AMD's last hope of survival and if they don't sell enough, in the future they'll be purchasing older chips and selling sub $100 cards and leave the rest for Nvidia? I maybe exaggerating. The video card market isn't where the chip market is at the moment, but the signs show that it will be the same a few years from now.
You're looking at it the wrong way IMO. When the HD 7970 was released, it was expensive but at the same time, it was competitively priced at the NVIDIA cards which were available AT THE TIME. Companies can only price their products in relation to market conditions and that's exactly what AMD did.
There isn't some vast conspiracy going on here but there is a significant shift in the PC market. Product refresh cycles are being significantly lengthened which in effect leads to potential segmentation overlap. That royally screws early adopters but it effectively manages market conditions.
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