AMD is Ahead -- Thanks to Intel's Sandy Bridge Woes -- But Not on Top

New leadership and Intel's Sandy Bridge woes give AMD a boost, not a win

The winds of change are blowing at AMD: The chipmaker has shed some excess weight in the form of outgoing execs, plus it's claiming to be cashing in on the spoils of Intel's Sandy Bridge fiasco.

These recent events will likely give AMD a much-needed boost as it continues its ongoing race against Intel, but what remains to be seen is whether the company will have the wherewithal to gain ground on mobile chip upstarts like Qualcomm and ARM.

Adieu, adieu, to you and you and you
In the wake of pushing Dirk Meyer off his CEO throne last month, AMD has revealed that two more high-level execs are off to "pursue new opportunities": COO Robert Rivet and Marty Seyer, senior vice president of corporate strategy. Rivet has been at AMD since 2000 when he started as the CFO; Seyer joined the company in 2002 as the VP of the company's server business.

AMD hasn't said outright why Rivet and Seyer are leaving: Given the company's struggles of late, it could be a matter of weather-worn crewmembers bailing what they see as a sinking ship. Then again, it could be part of an internal shakeup as the company attempts to make necessary changes to, well, its operations and corporate strategy as it looks to gain critical mobile chip marketshare.

AMD to Intel: "Ha ha!"
Whatever the case, the news of the departure slipped out an opportune time, because on the chip stage, the spotlight is focused clearly on Intel. Intel is currently in crisis mode as it struggles to deal with a new line of chip sets bearing faulty transistors. The problem is proving a costly one for Intel: losses are expected to hit $1 billion. Also, there may be a long-term fallout once the dust has cleared: The company has decided to continue shipping the problematic chipset to PC makers "for use only in PC system configurations that are not impacted by the design issue."

Not surprisingly, Intel's loss is proving to be AMD's gain: AMD told reports that customers and retailers alike are calling on AMD in search of an alternative to Intel's faulty hardware. "We have some customers and retailers who have come to us specifically as a result of Intel's chip problem. Some retailers have had to take things off their shelves, so they call us to ask what they could get from our OEMs that's similar. And OEMs are asking us for product as well," AMD VP of product and platform marketing Leslie Sobon told Dow Jones Newswires.

Add to that the success AMD has seen thus far with its new Fusion APU (accelerated processing unit): The company reported shipping more than one million chips for entry-level PCs last month, as well as surpassing the 35 million mark on DirectX 11-class GPUs (graphic processing units).

So yes: AMD appears to be in a good position right now against Intel, but AMD and Intel are no longer the primary combatants in the ongoing chip wars. Consumers and business users alike are increasingly shifting computing tasks to mobile devices, and neither Intel nor AMD are synonymous with "mobile chips." Rather, companies like Qualcomm and ARM are sitting prettiest in that space.

This story, "New leadership and Intel's Sandy Bridge woes give AMD a boost, not a win," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Get the first word on what the important tech news really means with the InfoWorld Tech Watch blog. For the latest developments in business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.

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