2007 was a trying year for AMD. Processors that were once top of the line, were knocked down to mid-range and value parts as Intel ploughed through with their Core 2 Duo and Core 2 Quad processors, while graphics cards that were among the more competitive options played second fiddle when NVIDIA delivered their GeForce 8 lineup. AMD's Barcelona that was hailed to turn around AMD's misfortune was met with the dreaded TLB bug that further delayed mass market delivery. Their notebook platform refresh missed a beat, and more so with their mobility Radeon graphics chips. With all these delays and setbacks affecting their once leading positions, their market share in certain segments shrunk and their financial books were tainted red for several quarters following the US$5.4 billion dollar deal to acquire ATI in late 2006.
All that only seemed to spell danger for AMD, but is it what it seems? Amid all the troubles and getting ATI integrated as part of AMD, they did however come out as a much stronger company - and one that seems poised to take on its adversaries. As a company that owns its own wafer fabrication plants (in addition to contracting out to external foundries for greater volume), the second largest designer and supplier of CPUs, the second strongest visualization solutions provider and their very own motherboard/chipset design team, this is a combination that's hard to beat as they can offer a complete systems solution. Short of supplying storage, optics, screens and power supplies, they research, design and produce the heart and brains of a typical computer system, be it at the personal computer level or that of servers in data centers.
Today, AMD's competitive position is perhaps the strongest in the last two years and that's just based on recent developments in the first quarter of 2008. Breaking down what has happened recently, the company managed to roll out its complete lineup of Radeon HD 3000 series of graphics processors, launched the new AMD 780G and 780V chipsets for the new mainstream and business computers, and has managed to deliver the updated Phenom '50' series of processors that use the new B3 silicon revision. Correspondingly, this also means the Opteron processors are now shipping for mass availability in addition to its close OEM partners. All of these developments are really much awaited entries for AMD to get back into the market and from what we heard at a recent AMD media briefing, it looks like exciting times are ahead.
We managed to catch up with several of AMD's top executives such as John Taylor, AMD's Director for Product and Strategic Communications, as well as Bryan Low, Vice President and Managing Director of AMD in South Asia, to better understand where AMD is today. So read on and be surprised what's in the pipeline. It may not break Intel or NVIDIA yet, but AMD will surely give them something to think about.