AMD has been good for IT. They kept Intel competing on price and performance, somewhat. However:
- they did an excellent job of developing AMD64 but then neglected 32-bit stuff
- they neglected low-power computing
- ARM moved into x86 territory
Sure, they bought Geode but did little with it. In the good old days of Geode, the target was mostly thin clients and AMD did not want to undermine the fire-breathing/hair-drying desktop. Along came the netbook and AMD was caught out. Intel and Via and ARM sucked up all the juice.
Now, mobile and smart-thingies are on fire and AMD has nothing to offer except integrated graphics that sucks too much juice. With ARM and low-power x86 taking the mobile space and moving into desktops and servers, AMD64 has little space except gamers and servers and the illiterate consumer. In 2011, consumers are going to see side by side demos of x86, AMD64 and ARM and will have a choice, “Should I pay $100 or $250 for a box that does what I need?”
So, AMD has fought well against Intel, only to lose the low-end stuff to ARM. Needing a scapegoat, they have pushed out the CEO who saved their bacon from Intel.
Expect AMD to continue to do well in high-power computing, gaming and servers. They will continue to have a share of the shrinking or stagnant hair-dryer market, but they are very late to the mobile revolution. If M$ moves to ARM to go mobile, AMD will be locked out completely. They sold their fabs. Now they cannot even go the ARMed route without huge expense. Does the world need a second ARM? Perhaps, if M$ buys out ARM, but that is not going to happen for the foreseeable future. AMD has painted itself into a shrinking corner.
UPDATE There are reports that the board disagreed with the CEO on diversifying into mobile applications. Perhaps now AMD will change direction. That could be good for all of us.
UPDATE ArsTechnica has another take on this. WSJ sees part of the disaffection for the incumbent as cost-cutting measures including selling an ARM+GPU design to Qualcomm! Wow! There’s an echo in here. The title of this post is right on. However, AMD can still expand in servers with multi-core 64bitness doing the heavy lifting for all the new light-weight client computers. Unfortunately, they could sell 1000 client chips for every server chip… Chuckle.
UPDATE TheRegister is thinking AMD migt get its own ARM licence.