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AMD Chief Sales Officer thinks GPU leadership is critical

by on23 April 2014

John Byrne talks to Fudzilla about AMD’s transformation

We had a chance to talk to John Byrne who spent the last two years as Senior Vice President and Chief Sales Officer at AMD.

He is one of the drivers behind AMD’s transformation, with the ultimate goal of turning the chipmaker into a new organization that is not so heavily dependent on the PC market. John confirmed that the company is on the road to achieve a huge milestone in its transition plans, generating approximately 50 percent of its revenue from the non-PC market by the end of 2015.

The time for the talk could not been better, as the market reacted positively to AMD’s Q1 earnings and at press time the stock was at $4.14, up $0.45 or 12.06 percent which is a huge jump for a tech stock. Keep in mind that many tech stocks have been bearish over the last four weeks, with several massive selloffs, especially in software and internet companies.

AMD fighting back in CPU space

We covered numerous topics from desktops, notebooks and tablets strategy all the way to the server, semi-custom APUs and of course the graphics market.

John said that leadership in the graphics sector is critical in AMD’s strategy, none more so than in the PC space where AMD wants to use their performance APU’s to compete with Intel’s Core i3 and Core i5 processors in the lucrative mainstream market. This is what AMD wants to address with Kaveri and to some extent with Kabini APUs.

AMD has high hopes for its upcoming server parts where they just launched their first ARM 64-bit product for the dense server space, where AMD expects to be a leader. On the other side of the spectrum the frugal AM1 platform launched a few weeks ago and it is getting very positive reviews. The first Kaveri parts have been on sale for a while, although we would like to see more desktop SKUs, not to mention mobile Kaveri APUs, including ULV variants.

Semi-custom APUs are blurring the line between AMD’s traditional product classes, but sales appear to be good, with more than 12 million Xbox One and PlayStation 4 consoles in the wild.

Phenomenal discrete GPU sales

Byrne is quietly confident when it comes to the GPU market, having just seen very strong sales in the performance and enthusiast high end segments of the market. The surge was driven by competitive products, great games and bundles, even with the cryptocurrency craze which was more or less a fluke for AMD.

The company remains committed to the GPU market, and expects to bring the successful R9 / R7 architecture further down into the mainstream price points in 2014, with similar traction. This means AMD will continue the fight against Nvidia in desktop and notebook GPU markets, while at the same time taking on Intel on desktop and notebook side with new APUs.

AMD thinks that the mix of great gaming performance, HSA, Mantle, Open CL, compute performance and some cool technologies like facial recognition can boost its position in the GPU market. This is just one part of the magic potion that is really starting to work for AMD, but it’s good to know that when it comes to graphics and gaming, AMD will stay committed to these markets in 2014 and beyond.

Enthusiasts need not worry. Although the company is reinventing itself and pursuing non-PC revenue streams, AMD will still be there to cater to their needs.

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