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AMD Businesses

AMD To Shed 10% of Its Workforce 276

Posted by kdawson
from the hitting-the-streets dept.
stress_life writes "Recent rumors about AMD firing 5% of its workforce proved to be understated. AMD just announced that the company is going to deliver pink slips to 1600-1700 workers, or around 10% of its employees. AMD needs revenue of $2 billion per quarter, but Q1'08 is expected to come in around $1.5 billion. These firings have to be complete by Q3'08, the quarter by which Hector Ruiz promised to be profitable." We most recently discussed AMD's struggles in February.
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AMD To Shed 10% of Its Workforce

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  • And if... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Creepy Crawler (680178) on Tuesday April 08, 2008 @01:55PM (#23002900)
    AMD dies, then Intel will jack their rates up about double.

    We saw something like this with Blu-Ray when HDDVD was announced to be dead.

    And Via.. Well, they're VIA. Leaves a bad taste in my mouth.
    • Re:And if... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by wattrlz (1162603) on Tuesday April 08, 2008 @01:57PM (#23002936)
      +1 apropos for the quote on the bottom of the page.

      The real value of KDE is that they inspired and push the development of GNOME :-) -- #Debian
    • Re: And if... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Black Parrot (19622) on Tuesday April 08, 2008 @02:02PM (#23003016)

      AMD dies, then Intel will jack their rates up about double.
      Of course. But we've seen AMD "lose" the CPU war before, and recover. Hopefully that will happen again.

      Too bad about the layoffs, though. I think this is going to get worse (across the whole economy) before it gets better. Business is so slow that my state's tax revenues have plummeted.
      • Re: And if... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by MightyMartian (840721) on Tuesday April 08, 2008 @02:07PM (#23003080) Journal
        The problem this time is that they seem to be failing both sales-wise and technically. As much as I hate Intel, you have to admit, when you look at the product lines, and what's coming down the pipe in the next year or two, Intel has a pretty major advantage over AMD.

        I think there is a risk over the next five years of Intel again gaining monopoly or near-monopoly status in the x86 world (or whatever precisely it has morphed into now).
        • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 08, 2008 @02:41PM (#23003572)
          We don't care about suppliers of proprietary solutions because we have OpenSparc. We wouldn't run an open source OS on closed source hardware and firmware.

          http://www.opensparc.net/ [opensparc.net]

          • That doesn't help the very large majority of the desktop market. Now that Apple has adopted Intel's chips, there's not exactly of alternatives out there if AMD goes tits up. Long ago Microsoft had some interest in portability, but that's gone the way of the dodo.
            • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

              by Anonymous Coward
              But we are Slashdot here. We run GNU, Linux, OpenSolaris etc. and we put our money where our mouth is.
            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by nuzak (959558)
              Well, speaking of Apple, you don't want to count the PPC line out yet. I mean yeah, you can strike it from Apple's current roadmap, but if Intel sits on its heels, they do have PPC who would like to come back from behind, and Cell which would like to become more mainstream.

        • Never. (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 08, 2008 @03:01PM (#23003862)
          There is yet one dwarf in Moria who still buys AMD.

          Seriously, though, I realize I'm a bloody hypocrite for laughing at Mac fanboys whilst being an AMD fanboy, but I love AMD. I want to do things illegal in Texas to my Opteron.

          I also realize I'm partially moronic for having brand loyalty in this day and age - but I've never had a problem with any AMD chip. They just work. Perfectly.

          So the rest of you Slashdotters go ahead with your 'logic' and 'benchmarks'. I'll keep AMD afloat so you can enjoy competitively priced Intel chips. :P
        • AMD isn't comatose (Score:5, Insightful)

          by jmichaelg (148257) on Tuesday April 08, 2008 @03:10PM (#23003940) Journal
          AMD's product line can't beat Intel right now but they started out that way and managed anyway. They had gotten along quite well selling a second-rate cpu that was good enough for a lot of applications whereas Intel was always pushing the performance envelope and charging accordingly.

          When the Athlon came along, I think AMD was as surprised as the market was that Intel couldn't compete technically. Those days are gone, at least for awhile, and AMD is back where they started. There'll always be a market for a cheap cpu that does the job.
          • by Kjella (173770) on Tuesday April 08, 2008 @05:36PM (#23005722) Homepage

            When the Athlon came along, I think AMD was as surprised as the market was that Intel couldn't compete technically. Those days are gone, at least for awhile, and AMD is back where they started. There'll always be a market for a cheap cpu that does the job.
            1. Plants are absurdly expensive, and downscaling probably means big losses
            2. Laptops means AMD has to compete on TDP, which has rarely been their strong point*
            3. Smaller process and more complex design equals better economics of scale, favor Intel
            4. A lot of the "non-mainstream" people are now running Macs = Intel
            5. Intel makes killer cheap CPUs by virtue of the small die size for killer margins

            * compared to the Pentium 3/Pentium M/Core chips. Netburst was an abomination.

            CPUs are one business where if you can't put money into the next generation, you're dead. If AMD don't have the money for new R&D or new fabs, they won't have a cheap processor that does the job. Intel has the power to shipwreck AMD right now, they could ship Atom processors (a 25mm^2 part) for half the listed price, put an Intel chip in every "lowest possible price PC" and still turn a healthy profit (comparing to the die sizes of the other chips, not R&D). Performance is more than adequate and combined with a HD-decoding chip it'll do anything but games. I couldn't find a quote for the die size on AMDs smallest chip but the DC chip is 126mm^2 so >63mm^2 at least. That directly translates to fewer processors per die, lower yield and higher power use.

            The only question for Intel is whether they want AMD dead or just crippled so they don't have to deal with heavier monopoly regulation. Remember, even at the height AMD never threatened Intel financially, they always shipped the most CPUs and usually on a process generation better than AMD and so they made plenty money to pour down in R&D even when they fumbled away the performance crown. This time it looks like they've sucessfully boxed in AMD both on the low-power and high-performance end and AMD just don't have the resources to diversify. At least it's somewhat better in graphics where nVidia has really disappointed me with the follow-up since the 8800 release, or they'd have a double crisis on their hands. Heh, if they can make good open-source drivers I'll end up being a complete flip-flop compared to the AMD/nVidia fan I used to be (except the last PC, it's Intel/nVidia...) and become an Intel/ATI fan. Now that I'd have put good money against not so long ago...
            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by drinkypoo (153816)
              High end K6 has a TDP comparable to a P3, problem is, it's shitty at playing 386. You need to compile for K6 (gentoo! etc.) in order to really reap the benefits. K6 is a fully-RISC architecture with plenty of cache. By the time the K6/3 came out, though, it was all but over. Athlon 64 Mobile had TDP comparable to Pentium M when it came out when you compared the power consumption of processor + chipset. Traditionally, AMD has consumed lower power (remember, it's the Intel P54c that was the socket-melter) and
        • Re: And if... (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Znork (31774) on Tuesday April 08, 2008 @03:32PM (#23004196)
          Intel has a pretty major advantage over AMD.

          Measured by performance, yes. But then, I haven't based CPU purchases on performance since I was a teenager and computers had single-digit MHz's. Over time you end up with far more computing power if you buy best price/performance more often and every time, instead of spending the premium for higher end on more rarely occuring purchases.

          I think there is a risk over the next five years of Intel again gaining monopoly or near-monopoly status

          I doubt it. It's not a new situation, and as long as AMD can keep delivering better price/performance they will retain significant marketshare. If they fail at that tho, or if Intel lowers prices... but then again, Intel is too fond of charging what the market will bear, so that would be unlikely.
        • Re: And if... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by jellomizer (103300) on Tuesday April 08, 2008 @03:41PM (#23004314)
          Reducing your workforce when your problems are based on Sales and Technical issues is a stupid move. Because those are some of the major areas which need people to get the product back on par.

          Massive Layoffs are usually bad business decisions.
          1. You reduce people who make your products better.

          2. When/if you do start growing you need new people back, and then there is the turn over cost to take account of.

          3. You in the short term raise your profits but don't fix the problem of the declining profits. The people on Top are Fat and Happy because they see the big numbers. But by not fixing the underlining problems The next quarter or fisical year the problem will reoccure again.

          4. Layoffs effect the moral of those who are hired. Causeing them to spend more time and effort in either A. Politicking themselfs to not get laied off. B. Spenind time to find a new job. Niether of these means they are working harder at their actually jobs.

          5. Ex Employees go work for the competition with their own Intelectual Property with them.

          6. For big companies like AMD Layoffs effect the local economies of the areas. Which will normally cause a raise in taxes on the local companies (Including AMD) where if they were a big employeer then they may have tax breaks to incorage the company to attract people and businesses in the town.

          7. Any slowdowns in production or product releases (due to limited labor) will cause customers to switch to cometitors.

          8. Empty offices account to paying for unused property.

          9. Extra workload on existing employees may lead to increase mistakes.

          10. New Employees will be hesident in joining. Making rerecruting difficult if business does pick up.

          See the MBA program is not all about Evil.
          • Re: And if... (Score:4, Interesting)

            by aztektum (170569) on Tuesday April 08, 2008 @04:32PM (#23004952)
            When Intel started its big layoff push in fall '06, they were targeting marketing, underutilized internal IT and then HR (fewer overall employees = less need for overstaffed HR). Their core engineering and production teams were barely touched.

            AMD hasn't announced where it's cutting from, but if they're smart, they're going to cut fat, not lop off their head.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Cheeko (165493)
            Indeed, you're also assuming that the company is running at optimal efficiency and any loss of people will hinder performance.

            Its very possible that they are cutting entire projects that are producing no tangible benefit, or trimming business functions in other parts of the company (IT consolidation, facilities overhead, administrative staff, etc) Sure some engineers/sales/marketing probably goes too, but they could be tied to projects not currently contributing to the bottom line.

            Also if you can change yo
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Chris Burke (6130)
            Reducing your workforce when your problems are based on Sales and Technical issues is a stupid move. Because those are some of the major areas which need people to get the product back on par.

            AMD knows it's a bad idea. They've said as much over the past couple years as their profits turned into losses, and the analysts naturally started wondering if layoffs were coming. AMD said that they did not want to reduce costs via layoffs, for essentially the reasons you gave, in particular that reducing your engin
          • Re: And if... (Score:5, Informative)

            by hackus (159037) on Tuesday April 08, 2008 @05:21PM (#23005538) Homepage
            You forgot 11.

            AMD Executives paid themselves MASSIVELY during the quarters when AMD was doing its worst.

            http://finance.google.com/group/google.finance.327/browse_thread/thread/372bff68c6244c13

            -Hack
          • by WindBourne (631190) on Tuesday April 08, 2008 @08:59PM (#23007458) Journal
            I am guessing that the vast majority of these layoffs are occurring in the west. Most are probably in America with EU taking a number as well. I noticed that AMD has opened a 3rd RD in India and is doing mass hiring.
        • by DrYak (748999) on Tuesday April 08, 2008 @04:18PM (#23004762) Homepage
          AMD did well until recently because, with the Athlon 64, they managed to bring something new fresh, interesting and with good performance :
          - x86-compatible 64bits architecture, integrated memory controller, low power and thermal
          exactly at a time when intel was stuck in dead ends :
          - on one hand Itanium proved not to be the optimal way to bring 64bit to desktops and was stuck in the scientific cluster market
          - on the other hand the Pentium 4, which was the CPU equivalent of a hummer, and was unable to go above 3GHz although the NetBurst architecture was planned to reach 10GHz

          Intel had to lose time, going back to an older generation (PentiumIII-based PentiumM) and developing a decent workstation & desktop processor out of it (Core 2 was the first decent answer to Athlon 64).

          Now we are back to the statu quo. With AMD having some technologically interesting products (true quad-cores) and interesting perf/price ratio in the mid-range products, but other wise no massive advantage.
          And Intel throwing tons of resources and replaying the "Gigahertz race", except this time with the number of cores bolted to the same package, offering expensive but fast processors.

          *BUT*

          AMD could still get some advantage in the near future.

          First, the gain obtained by multiplying the number of cores will soon top (My crystal balls predict somewhere around 6-8 cores). Intel is going to hit a wall soon, just like they got stuck with their Gigahertz race.

          Second, integrated design with the memory controller on the CPU and a standard bus between the CPU and the rest of the PC seems to make a lot of sense. At least that's what Intel's engineer are thinking.
          Here again AMD has some advantages :
          They already have such an architecture since Athlon 64, the hypertransport bus has been adopted already by several other constructor for various (FPGA and other accelerators, or simply communication between multiple chipsets on motherboard with several northbridges), their socket has stabilised (thank to the compatible family AM2 => AM2+ => AM3).

          Whereas Intel will probably once again lose some time developing and perfect their Quick-Path based processors, probably changing their connector a couple of time along the way (can't technically reuse LGA775, will have to develop a new one and as usually will probably change it a couple of time before stabilising), will have to convince other constructor to adopt it (they will, of course as they are "the standard x86 cpu that every PC maker use". But it'll take some additional time), etc...

          Once again we will see a transition at Intel, during which AMD has a small advantage (smaller than with the Athlon 64, but still present).
          If they leverage their advantage well (partnerships around the HyperTransport, perhaps), they can achieve some success.

          Of course that advantage won't stay indefinitely, and after that Intel will probably be back again with big beasts. Probably by then the technology will better take advantage of bigger multicores. And they'll also have a good advantage in the GPU / GPGPU markets by then.
      • by tjstork (137384) <todd,bandrowsky&gmail,com> on Tuesday April 08, 2008 @02:08PM (#23003098) Homepage Journal
        Too bad about the layoffs, though. I think this is going to get worse (across the whole economy) before it gets better. Business is so slow that my state's tax revenues have plummeted.

        People that I have talked to in the transportation business seem to think the recession already took place from around mid last year into this quarter, but now they think the economy is recovering. They are basing this on a rather dramatic falloff in freight shipments and then a recovery.

        This followed a similar pattern in the early 1990s.. that is, by the time Clinton said "It's the economy stupid", the recession was already technically over. It's just now the pundits and papers need something to scare people with to sell more punditry and their papers.
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by clampolo (1159617)
          The FED just issued another $60 billion auction to keep the banks alive. This thing won't end until someone figures out what to do with all these lousy loans.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by smooth wombat (796938)
            This thing won't end until someone figures out what to do with all these lousy loans.

            Well, if things were operating as they should in a capitalistic/free market, the bad loans would be written off, the banks/loan originators/brokers/hedge funds would take their lumps and we would move on.

            However, as the Fed has resorted to socialist policies to thwart the free market, the loans will stay on the books as more tax dollars are used to prop up Wall Street firms and banks, we will stay mired in this zer

            • by pwizard2 (920421) on Tuesday April 08, 2008 @03:36PM (#23004248)

              people will not be able to save because of the Fed's efforts to prevent saving from occurring.
              Many people don't save because there is no real incentive to save anymore. These days, the average bank around me (So Cal) offers roughly 3% or less for savings accounts. CDs are slightly better, but not by much. Am I supposed to be grateful for that? (inflation aside) When I put my money in the bank, the bank makes much more off of it than I do by loaning it out to other people at prime rate or better. Why should I help banks make money in return for a pittance when my money can be put to work more effectively elsewhere?

              The only way to get ahead is to invest in appreciating assets. IRAs and 401Ks are good for supplementing a well-rounded investment portfolio, but there's no way I would stake my entire future in them alone.
        • It's a little more complicated than that.

          For one thing, perception of the economy affects the economy - if businesses think that the economy is taking a downturn, they are likely to react accordingly. That sort of thing can actually cause or prolong a recession where there may not have been one or it may have been shorter.
          • by King_TJ (85913) on Tuesday April 08, 2008 @02:58PM (#23003806) Journal
            I suspect we'll see the economy get a boost whenever the next person is elected President in the U.S. Traditionally, that's been the case, again due to perception much more than reality. (We like to have a scapegoat for our problems. When they're economic in nature, the President tends to be that scapegoat. The fact he's shown the door and someone new comes in is enough to make people believe things "can get better now", even if nothing has really changed yet.)

            The "trend" I've observed in the last couple years is one of businesses trying to be more efficient with the employees they keep. Instead of 3 people, they're always asking, "Can we get by with one higher-paid worker who can then be asked to do the work of those 3?" If not, then they ask "Can we do things differently so we don't need to hire a replacement for employee X who is leaving?"

            The statistics I saw published a few weeks ago bore that out. Despite the 5.9% unemployment rate shown, it also indicated average pay was UP over last quarter.
            • Agreed on the change in leadership tending to spur an economy that is in a downturn. It's the same reason that company share prices tend to increase when a new CEO takes over an ailing company and is part of the reason that I said it was a little more complicated than just looking at the shipping industry.

              I certainly hope things improve this time as well, but I have a gut feeling that, depending on who gets elected, that improvement may be very short lived.
            • by c_forq (924234)
              I think you are dead on. I work in a steel warehouse, and we have about a dozen less people than we did last year, but wages are way up across the board. It seems to be the same at all the local plants - trying to encourage retention of good workers and focusing on efficiency.
        • by dpilot (134227) on Tuesday April 08, 2008 @02:51PM (#23003710) Homepage Journal
          Last night on NPR's Marketplace they talked about how the credit crunch was showing signs of easing.

          Only problem, none of the things that caused the credit crunch have been fixed:
          * No regulations for transparency, so you can know the real risk of the "financial product" you're buying.
          * The responsibility breakdown between loan origination and loan execution remains. (How the HECK can you get into a position to get a commission for writing a loan, with no responsibility to know that the borrower can really pay? What a job!)
          * No regulations on allowable margin, or even for margin transparency.
          - I'm sure there are more.

          Nothing has been fixed, we merely appear to have dodged THIS bullet, but the madmen are still out there with their machine guns.
      • The article implies that the most layoffs will be in Germany, so I'm not sure what long term impact that would have on the "whole economy". I'm not one to poo poo job losses, but the sky definitely ISN'T falling (yet), especially if you check out the new AMD Campus here in Austin.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by fm6 (162816)

        But we've seen AMD "lose" the CPU war before, and recover. Hopefully that will happen again.

        Don't hope too hard. AMD did well by capitalizing on Intel's mistakes. In particular, they grabbed the lead in the x64 marketplace (hell, they invented the x64 marketplace) while Intel was wasting its time and fortune on the Itanium boondoggle.

        That's not an opportunity that's going to come twice. Plus, this time, it's AMD that's fumbled, releasing a key product with a fatal bug. Intel is huge, and can afford to make a mistake now and then. AMD can't.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I'm all for supporting the "little guy", even if it costs a little more to get an equivalent product, but in this case, what choice does one have? Intel currently makes a better processor, plain and simple. When buying something as significant as a CPU, I'm not going to pay more for an inferior product, especially if it's supposed to last me a few years.

      Just my two cents.
      • I never said we should support the little guy.

        I just made the connection that our prices would probably approach double if AMD did die (or got out of the low-price sector).
      • Exactly so. I've got some budget money for a new machine for myself, and need a good 64-bit machine capable of reliable virtualization. AMD's processors are practically a generation behind in this, and I've got to go where a) I'm going to get the biggest bang for the buck and b) where I'm going to get the biggest bang.

        Part of the problem is simply an economy of scales. AMD does not have the capital that Intel has, and while they've done some amazing things over the last decade, it's mainly been because I
      • > Intel currently makes a better processor, plain and simple.

        That is true on the high end of the CPU market, as Intel's QX9770 [newegg.com] proves with a commanding price of $1,499.99 vs. AMD's top price of around $235 on the Phenom 9850 [newegg.com]. The problem is your lack of a definition for the word "better." In the dual- tri- and low-end quad-core market, AMD does pretty well with performance/price.
        • I can't speak for original, but "better" to me exists REGARDLESS of price. The price of something is totally irrelevant to how well something works. As stated, Intel just makes a better processor at the moment.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by slifox (605302) *
      Yeah, it sucks... but they screwed up big with the Phenom release.

      Besides the terrible publicity for the launch of a new generation of CPUs, the covered-up TLB bug which prevents reliable virtualization (even 1 crash a week is NOT acceptable)... they almost completely dropped their support for the linux community with this CPU & chipset release. Their 780G chipset + SB700 southbridge is absolutely terrible in linux (even with 2.6.25-rc8)--20MB/s on a Raptor SATA with AHCI mode enabled (usually gets 75MB
      • by Anonymous Coward
        Compatible? Not really.

        AMD states that AM2+ is downward compatible with the AM2 socket. That's not the whole truth of course. The Phenom processor is so choke full of bugs that the required microcode updates basically need an 8 meg BIOS to hold them. Most AM2 mobos only have a 4 meg BIOS chip, so that claim is a lie when it's applied to reality.

        So if you want a Phenom chip, you pretty much HAVE TO buy a AM2+ motherboard which are pretty new and use the so-so ATI chipsets. Anyway, how about not changing
      • Re:And if... (Score:5, Informative)

        by Visaris (553352) on Tuesday April 08, 2008 @03:23PM (#23004098) Journal
        > the covered-up TLB bug which prevents reliable virtualization

        Where is this FUD comming from? The bug was never covered up. They delayed production for an entire quarter and publicly announced why. All CPUs have errata, and AMD took a huge hit by doing the responsible thing with disclosure and a delay.

        Second of all, AMD provided a BIOS patch to motherboard makers that ships with every K10 capable board. If you want to argue the patch degrades performance or bring up the faster B3 revision, fine. However, don't imply AMD's chips can't do virtualization reliably. The patch completely fixes any chance of a crash from the TLB issue.
      • I just got burned by this stupid fucking Phenom & 780G+SB700 release

        And I got burned by the 690G of last year. Why promise all the features on a card when their own drivers do not access half (or all - in Linux) its features? Pricepoint comparisons don't mean squat when you have to buy an nVidia card to output HDTV video with an ATI onboard?

        It is a telling sign when Linux users would gladly welcome an ATI restricted driver over an open source driver just to get their damn mobo to work correctly.

        Right

    • Re:And if... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by eebra82 (907996) on Tuesday April 08, 2008 @02:15PM (#23003198) Homepage

      AMD dies, then Intel will jack their rates up about double.

      We saw something like this with Blu-Ray when HDDVD was announced to be dead.
      You're obviously correct that Intel would drop the fast pace a bit and increase the rates, but comparing this situation to the media disk war of HDDVD and BD is just wrong. The industry was basically waiting for a winner because two competitors on this type of market is just too much. Certainly, the industry is not waiting for AMD or Intel to die.

      On the other hand, I doubt that Intel would eliminate competition completely because there is certainly room for more than just one company. I'm not saying AMD is going to survive, but sometimes the best thing for a business is to terminate and reinstate itself.
    • by Rix (54095) on Tuesday April 08, 2008 @02:24PM (#23003332)
      But Bluray drives dropped in price by almost half when HDDVD kicked it. They were about $250-$300 then, and are about $150 now.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by San-LC (1104027)
        No, Blu-Ray drives (BD-ROM) dropped in price by almost half to make sure that HD-DVD kicked it. If you look at the Blu-Ray DVD Standalone units, they actually went up in price after HD-DVD announced its retreat from the market.
    • Re:And if... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by idiotnot (302133) <sean@757.org> on Tuesday April 08, 2008 @02:27PM (#23003386) Homepage Journal
      AMD dies, then Intel will jack their rates up about double.

      AMD, as a company, may die. I seriously doubt their processors and GPUs will anytime soon. My guess would be either IBM or a Japanese semiconductor fab will resurrect their product line out of the smoldering crater.

      A not-so-outlandish idea, however, is Samsung. To me, Korean ownership, development, and production makes a hell of a lot of sense.
  • AMD and ATi (Score:5, Insightful)

    by phalse phace (454635) on Tuesday April 08, 2008 @01:59PM (#23002960)
    I guess AMD buying ATi didn't help things either (?).
    • Re:AMD and ATi (Score:5, Insightful)

      by moderatorrater (1095745) on Tuesday April 08, 2008 @02:12PM (#23003160)
      In the short term, it was always a bad idea and I think they knew that. ATI didn't have anything to offer against nVidia for dx10 and they wouldn't for a while. In the medium term it looked like it might start being profitable, and in the long term they were hoping to be able to start revolutionizing the video industry with tighter integration between the CPU and video card.

      Right now (heading into the medium term) it looks like they had some missteps but they're doing okay. It's still hard to tell what's going to happen long term, though. Intel's in the entrenched position since they're already the #1 video card maker because of their integrated chipsets. If ATI actually started changing the video card industry, then Intel's in a very good position to start competing with them quickly. I doubt Intel wants to start lagging behind AMD in performance again, especially with their CPUs actually beating AMDs for the first time since the original pentium came out.

      All told, buying ATI was questionable, but it's not to the point yet where I would call it either way. AMD's already come into a market dominated by another company and beat it on its own ground, I wouldn't be surprised if they can do it again.
      • Re:AMD and ATi (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Chris Burke (6130) on Tuesday April 08, 2008 @02:31PM (#23003442) Homepage
        In the short term, it was always a bad idea and I think they knew that. ATI didn't have anything to offer against nVidia for dx10 and they wouldn't for a while.

        As far as current products go, I think AMD was more interested in ATI's chipsets and embedded graphics, which are quite good, and help AMD build better 'platform' stories. Now they can provide a platform using mostly AMD chips, and that offers high performance, whereas before AMD made chipsets but they were generally not the best performing.

        in the long term they were hoping to be able to start revolutionizing the video industry with tighter integration between the CPU and video card.

        It's a neat idea, and there's a lot of potential there. We'll see if the potential ever becomes reality.

        If they keep shedding people, probably not would be my guess. :P
    • Another big problem was the stop-ship on their Quad-Core Opterons in January. They are only now becoming available again.
  • by Gothmolly (148874) on Tuesday April 08, 2008 @02:10PM (#23003124)
    They can just make it up through overclocking !
  • Buggy products (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dgym (584252) on Tuesday April 08, 2008 @02:13PM (#23003176)
    I wonder if they will be getting rid of the people who decided to release the Phenom X3s and the energy efficient Phenom X4 with the TLB bug intact? By releasing a lot of new chips at the same time, some with the fix and some without, it seems as though AMD are trying to confuse people into buying buggy chips with awful performance.

    Apparently we have to wait even longer before this mess will be cleared up. Is it any surprise that revenue is down?
  • Lay off 10%? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mr.Fork (633378) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [ydder.j.drawde]> on Tuesday April 08, 2008 @02:31PM (#23003438) Journal
    I'm not an economist, but I have a good head on my shoulders and I have a masters in business. Help me understand how AMD hopes to turn around their company by laying off 10% of their staff? They're hoping the remaining 90% demoralized, repressed, deflated staff will do it? What are the chances the 10% that walk out the door may be their best and brightest and may have the answers to turn their company around?

    It drives me crazy when companies think that the only way out of their mess is to lay off the staff, when the people responsible for the mess (board of directors and executive), don't give themselves a pay cut of 10%. Chances are, knowing how US exeuctives pay themselves, it would proably equal the amount saved laying off 10% of their staff. But what do I know?
    • Re:Lay off 10%? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by NeutronCowboy (896098) on Tuesday April 08, 2008 @02:46PM (#23003646)
      Well, if your revenue is down, you've got to cut costs in order to remain profitable. Since employees are by far the largest expenditure (ignoring for a second the opening of a new fab), it makes sense to cut costs there. Furthermore, in light of the fact that the last set of products were pretty underwhelming, I'm sure that there was some fat there that needed some trimming.

      That said - I agree with your feeling that executives never seem to take responsibility for screw-ups. Instead, they take million dollar golden parachutes into semi-retirement. I'd love to see an exec who says: "Wow, we stunk this year. I'm cutting my salary in half to help the company stay profitable." Or a CEO who says "Wow, we stunk these past two years. I'm obviously the wrong person to run this company, and am forfeiting all salary, bonuses and payments that were supposed to come my way." I guess that technically, the Board of Directors is supposed to do this, but that's a whole different issue.
    • Re:Lay off 10%? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by dpilot (134227) on Tuesday April 08, 2008 @02:57PM (#23003784) Homepage Journal
      IMHO here in the US we don't have real managers any more, who know their business. We have a bunch of snot-nosed hothouse MBAs who are comfortable only with spreadsheets and abstract numbers. I'm sure there are more, but it sure seems that Steve Jobs, reality distortion field aside, is the only US CEO who understands his business and can make it grow - the only CEO with a growth plan other than, "Do what we did last week, only cut costs."

      But take what you said for a moment... We need a general expectation around here: Executive suite cuts the workforce 10%, they take a 10% pay cut. They get NO credit for growing profit by shrinking the company. Rather than shrinking the company, an executive worth his pay would figure out how to turn that "idle" resource into more revenue.
    • Re:Lay off 10%? (Score:4, Informative)

      by maxume (22995) on Tuesday April 08, 2008 @03:05PM (#23003898)
      No need to speculate, as a public company, executive compensation is public information:

      http://amd.edgarpro.com/redirect_frames.asp?filename=0001193125-08-057479.txt&filepath= [edgarpro.com]\2008\03\14\&cols=7%2C0%2C4&SortBy=receivedate&AD=D&startrec=1&res=25&pdf=0

      It looks like the executives made ~ $20 million in 2007(including option and stock grants, not just salary, also, the totals are lower than 2006).

      I think cutting 1,600 jobs is going to save a bit more than $20 million, probably more than $100 million.
      • by andphi (899406)
        Perhaps cutting the jobs will save more money more quickly, but the long term costs will likely be exorbitant in terms of work lost. Some of the work loss cost they're incurring now, in hopes that the value that the work lost is less valuable than the money saved. Some of the work lost will stay with them, in the form of demoralized employees. Some of it will may never go away, if some of those laid off have strong working relationships with people outside the company - contractors, vendors, or otherwise.

        If
    • Re:Lay off 10%? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Average_Joe_Sixpack (534373) on Tuesday April 08, 2008 @03:14PM (#23003984)
      I'm not an economist, but I have a good head on my shoulders and I have a masters in business. Help me understand how AMD hopes to turn around their company by laying off 10% of their staff?
       
      Not necessarily. There may still be some significant overlap between ATI and AMD especially in the non-R&D positions.
    • by Kelz (611260)
      Intel laid off 10% of their staff, and then some. When I left a few years ago, morale was in the crapper, stock options were worthless, and honestly it wasn't the greatest place to work. However they still did concentrate on revamping their core business, and the product is good. But its not like Intel is doing absolutely great right now either.
    • by Mr.Fork (633378)
      Lots of great insight into this all - thanks for the replies. Of course, $20,000,000 in executive salary is still $20,000,000. And the comment from the past Intel employee is also good insight into what happens when you lay off staff. I bet there is a direct correlation to productivity loss that most VP's don't take into consideration when laying off 10% of your staff. I bet it hits productivity of staff by 50%.

      I wonder what would of happened if they went to their staff and said "We need to be more profi
    • Re:Lay off 10%? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by boris111 (837756) on Tuesday April 08, 2008 @03:34PM (#23004232)
      Really depends how they do it. If they say to every middle manager cut 10% of your staff... that's the wrong way to do it That's what 3Com did during the bubble bust (3Who? you say).

      If they strategically cut groups that are not performing (including the managers)... that's cutting the fat.
    • If you really had a Masters in business, you would know that executive pay is between the shareholders and the executives, and NOBODY ELSE.

      If AMD's sales are falling, and the people who were hired to support those nonexistent sales are sitting idle, of course it makes sense to axe them. That frees up wasted money so they can invest it in R&D to take the lead from Intel once more.
    • by snsh (968808) on Tuesday April 08, 2008 @03:37PM (#23004260)
      Jack Welch at GE advocated the 20-70-10 principle which says to periodically purge the lowest-performing 10% of employees to keep a company healthy. First, it gets rid of nonproductive employees. Second, *not* firing the lowest 10% is bad for the morale of the top-performing 20%.
    • Well, if they have 10% of their workforce drawing a paycheck, but don't have any work to bill against, then I'd say there is no problem in laying off 10%. I doubt it will fix any mess, but it will prevent having to pay people that aren't doing any work.

      What drives me crazy is the notion that a business is "failing" if they do anything but get bigger and bigger year after year. Is the goal of a business to take over the world, or to provide goods/services?

    • by jd (1658)
      The idea is to save mone, but this is only a useful tactic in the short-term. In the longer term, there's now that much less that the company can do, and (as you point out) that much less morale to do the work with. Yes, sometimes downsizing is the only way to stay afloat, because you need the mony now. On the other hand, if there's sufficient slack in the system that 90% of the people can do 100% of the work, then a full workforce can either fill more orders, deliver the orders that much faster or diversif
  • Shed? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by tthomas48 (180798) on Tuesday April 08, 2008 @02:35PM (#23003506) Homepage
    They're firing 10% of their workforce. Not "shedding" them. Is "lay off" not enough of a euphemism? Now we're going to use "shed"?
    • by Schraegstrichpunkt (931443) on Tuesday April 08, 2008 @02:40PM (#23003560) Homepage
      Depending on the jurisdiction, "laying off" someone is different legally from "firing" them. Where I live, when you fire someone, you have to do it for cause, but you don't have to give notice or pay in lieu of notice; When you lay someone off, you can do it for any reason (or no reason), but you have to give notice or pay in lieu of notice.
      • by tthomas48 (180798)
        Yeah, I guess it's a gray area. In Texas you can file for unemployment when fired for no cause, or when laid off due to lack of work. Fired to buoy share prices isn't listed oddly enough. Our labor law does not include the technical term "shed", however.
      • Yep (Score:5, Informative)

        by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Tuesday April 08, 2008 @04:54PM (#23005240)
        Here at the state university I work for, it is two very different things.

        Laid off means that the university just didn't need your specific job anymore, or doesn't have the money to pay you. You get a severance package and other benefits. For example should the department that laid you off open the same (or similar) job within a year, it is automatically yours if you want it. Also you get priority for getting interviews for other jobs on campus. More or less a layoff means "Sorry, we'd like to keep you, but we just can't." You are, of course, eligible for rehire if laid off.

        Being fired means you fucked up. It isn't easy to fire someone, there has to be documentation supporting it and such. When you get fired you don't get anything in parting. You are just out the door, and they are going to hire someone else to do your job. You aren't eligible to be rehired.

        So yes, in many cases it can be very different.
    • Shedding is still too explicit. How about "rightsizing"?
    • I prefer British English "sacked".
  • Hopefully the ones layed off will be the geniuses from ATI who made the decision to stop publishing the interface between the drivers and the card.
  • I just bought reasonable home AMD box for $300 from Tigerdirect.
  • by walterbyrd (182728) on Tuesday April 08, 2008 @02:44PM (#23003632)

    "Dell Job Cuts to Top 8,800 as U.S. Spending Slows" (Dude! You're getting a pink slip!)
    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601103&sid=aEO1GX_CC.8U&refer=u [bloomberg.com]...

    "Google DoubleClick cuts 300 jobs"
    http://www.newsoxy.com/google_doubleclick_cuts_300_jobs/article10671.htm [newsoxy.com]

    "Motorola to lay off 2,600 workers"
    http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/chi-fri-motorola-8k-jobcuts-motap [chicagotribune.com]...

    "Chrysler Slashing Tech Jobs - The latest cutbacks affect 400 technology workers"
    http://www.thecarconnection.com/blog/?p=1095 [thecarconnection.com]

    In other news, according to the NYT:

    > The economy shed 80,000 jobs in March, the third consecutive month of rising unemployment, presenting a stark sign that the country may already be in a recession.

    > The unemployment rate ticked up to 5.1 percent from 4.8 percent, its highest level since the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in September 2005.

    > The downturn has even come to San Francisco, where highly trained workers with elite degrees flock to work for some of the world's biggest technology companies. CNet Networks, the online media giant, laid off 10 percent of its staff -- about 120 workers -- this year in an effort to increase profitability and its share price. Yahoo, the search engine company, said it would cut its work force by 1,000.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/04/business/04cnd-econ.html?em&ex=1207540800&en=c1de4fb13c4ec4bd&ei=5087%0A [nytimes.com]
  • The first person going should be Hector

    That would save a boatload of money, and the next guy (Dirk?) couldn't run the company worse. (why does Ruiz get bonuses for running the company into the ground?)

    We need an investor revolt for the good of the world.
  • Apple and AMD (Score:5, Insightful)

    by chrisgeleven (514645) on Tuesday April 08, 2008 @03:53PM (#23004450) Homepage
    I remember when Apple first switched to x86 a few years ago and everyone was screaming about them picking Intel over AMD. Apple's response was that based on Intel's roadmap, they were the better choice.

    The past few years has certainly vindicated Apple on that regard. They absolutely made the right choice.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by MtViewGuy (197597)
      The reason why Apple chose Intel over AMD was simple: the Conroe CPU core ran faster and way cooler than its AMD equivalent. Today, Intel's Core 2 Duo CPU's are well-liked for its speed and reasonable cooling needs, thanks to the fact the CPU was based heavily on the CPU core developed for the mobile version of the Pentium III CPU.

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