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AMD Businesses

AMD Reportedly Preparing Massive Layoff 286

Posted by timothy
from the might-want-to-put-all-your-stuff-in-a-box dept.
An anonymous reader writes "AMD is preparing to lay off 20 to 30 percent of its workforce after warning of a 10 percent decline in Q3 revenues driven by the weak global economy and PC sales, according to AllThingsD's Arik Hesseldehl. The layoffs will reportedly focus on engineering and sales, and are in addition to a 10 percent headcount reduction 11 months ago. Teams of consultants from McKinsey and Boston Consulting Group are reportedly swarming headquarters to advise the CEO Rory Read, who took over from Dirk Meyer a little over a year ago; several senior executives, including the CFO, have recently departed."
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AMD Reportedly Preparing Massive Layoff

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  • Damn. (Score:0, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 13, 2012 @12:45AM (#41639537)

    Just...damn. Intel wins.

  • Servers (Score:5, Interesting)

    by corychristison (951993) on Saturday October 13, 2012 @12:52AM (#41639571)

    And virtually all through Q3 I've been trying to get my hands on 4 Opterons 16-core (model 6272 I think).

    Only last week Newegg finally received some of the new revised version but were out of stock for months.

    Either they overcommitted to OEMs or they simply did not provision enough for people like me. If they were quicker to get the revision out I am sure they could have made up for that 10% drop.

    I do understand this article is referring to desktop CPU's but the Opterons are still a part of their bottom line.

  • Bizarro World (Score:4, Interesting)

    by bignetbuy (1105123) <r0ckNO@SPAMoperamail.com> on Saturday October 13, 2012 @01:00AM (#41639597) Journal

    So, profits are down and the answer is to lay off the people who bring in the profits? Or the people who build the products that make the money?

    How is this right in any sense of the word? Instead of spot layoffs to raise the stock price a few cents, AMD should be focusing on beating the tar out of Intel, Nvidia, and ARM manufacturers. Or wondering why AMD doesn't have a chip that can drive a tablet?

  • Re:Pussies (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 13, 2012 @01:01AM (#41639611)

    Management is probably not that good at determining who should go - especially as in this case it it not so much down to the individuals talent and contribution, rather it is more about his mission and his section and division's mission Managers don't normally do that - they are hired and trained to make tactical decisions.
    Also add in the fact managers (at least the middle management) are equally eligible for layoff but are unlikely to recommend their own demise.
    I don't see how anyone other than an external consultant could make a halfway unbiased judgment.

  • Not exactly (Score:5, Interesting)

    by rsilvergun (571051) on Saturday October 13, 2012 @01:25AM (#41639677)
    It's been said before and will again, AMD will not be allowed to die, if only because the PC manufacturers are clever enough to know they need at least two vendors for the most critical part of their product. If Microsoft hadn't played games with Windows 8's ARM build I'd say AMD might be on the chopping block for real, but well, that's Microsoft for you.
  • Re:Pussies (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 13, 2012 @01:28AM (#41639689)

    What makes you think that if they were too incompetent to select the right people for the job and organize things properly,
    that now they would be able to select which ones are the right people to get fired and how to organize that properly.

    I have seen this exact scenario many, many times before.
    The problem here is, that management itself is exempt from the firing.
    And as long as that won't change, AMD is in for a long, seemingly endless Bataan death march to bankruptcy.
    Only accelerated by Intel kicking them while they lie on the ground.

    And usually, that never changes.
    What rather happens, is that a small core team of experts goes on to create a new company, which then re-hires much of the old peers, except the idiots.
    To then become competitive again.

    Unfortunately, that takes *forever*.
    So unless ARM and nVidia have some tricks up their sleeves, have fun with the Intel monopoly on desktop PCs for the next 10-15 years. :/

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 13, 2012 @01:49AM (#41639765)
    I can just imagine this phone call. "Hey Rory, it's Paul. Hey look, we were clearing up some stuff and found this old court case with you that's not settled yet. As you know, our graphics is improving, but still widely not well regarded, and I know we've got some process stuff you'd like to use. I was thinking we could roll up a settlement in the usual cross-license deal to make the NDA stick and throw in a little money to take the sting away... say, four billion? .... Yes, cash. .... Great. I'll have Stacy fax over the forms and we'll see if we can't get the funds transferred by morning. So how's Mary? Are you free for a round of golf next Tuesday? It's been a while."
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 13, 2012 @02:39AM (#41639931)

    I'll bet dollars to doughnuts that they're getting rid of the ones with seniority at that to try to save a few bucks on salary while simultaneously bleeding themselves out of knowledge and experience.

    I'll take that bet. I'm pretty sure they are doing the opposite: laying off all the junior engineers, support engineers, and the sales and marketing force in preparation for having some larger company (with their own army of overseas junior engineer worker-bees) take over. The consultants are there to negociate the headcount on behalf of the purchasers, they have nothing to do with the current management or the current product line. The consultants are like the home inspectors that a you hire when you are buying a house...

    My guess is that larger company is probably one of Samsung or Qualcomm, secondary guess would be Apple or Microsoft. Both Samsung and Qualcomm have been hiring AMD (ex ATI) folks left and right for the last few months and if they can pick up AMD for a song, they will probably do it. What any of these companies don't need are a bunch of 2-5 year engineers, supporting engineers, nor sales or marketing employees as a purchasing company, they are likely to just abandon all the current (and planned) product lines. The only thing the want is the core engineering assets (GPU designers and high-speed CPU physical design group) and the patents to deploy in their own product lines. The consultants job is to figure out who those folks are. All the bulldozer architects and APU stuff will probably go in the dumper as soon as the deal is closed.

    Put a fork in it. AMD as we know it is probably done.

  • by lightknight (213164) on Saturday October 13, 2012 @04:53AM (#41640277) Homepage

    They're doing it to themselves in the PC market. They spent their resources on the Fusion crap, which while nice for low power devices, leaves the rest of us who want Phenom IIIs and Radeon 9900s out in the cold.

    I'm at a FX-8150, and I have no AMD upgrade path. I am at the zenith of their multi-core designs, save switching to an Opteron processor, and I don't want to, because the motherboards are absolute crap. The next time Intel comes out with a top of the line processor, they're likely to get my money over AMD, simply because AMD isn't putting anything out there to compete.

  • by WOOFYGOOFY (1334993) on Saturday October 13, 2012 @05:55AM (#41640409)

    I don't know. I read the performance benchmarks on the 8150 before I bought it and I thought they were pretty good, except Win 7 doesn't hardware but a few 2D graphics calls, which is NOT AMD's fault and impacts some benchmarks.

    Now that I have it , I love it. I can see all 8 cores working, I can keep it all cool (75 F) no problem and the price / performance ratio is excellent, leaving out legacy PC chips whose price is near zero. The absolute performance is also pretty excellent.. for between US $100 and $500 you can get a chip that's another 30% faster from Intel, but why bother ? I'd rather put that money into an SSD and really feel some difference for my cash.

    AMD is not making its earning predictions, OK.. and their real problem is Wall Street who's punishing their stock for it. It's not like they can't make great chips at great prices.

    If Bulldozer 8150 was not literally 8x's a Phenom II in terms of power, well, it's still better by a bunch and at a great price. I love my 8150 and it's blazing fast for everything I want it to do. Highly recommended.

    The thing with Intel is, internally they're actually a worse corporation than even you described. Head hunters I have known almost immediately blanched at their name when I brought it up and said things like .. I do not recommend anyone work for Intel. I have seen the same remarks by the same professionals in print.

    Why? For generations now, it's been stocked to the gills with corporate psychopaths. Like above, so below. The level of viciousness of the politics is out of this world . For instance, there's something called "forced ranking" where 10% of their employees with the lowest scores on their reviews are automatically fired each year.

    Killing every tenth person in order to improve performance has another name- decimation.. deci-mation. It goes back to the Romans. Crassus used it to motivate the troops to capture Spartacus. The thing is even then it was considered regressive, ancient and barbaric.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Decimation_(Roman_army) [wikipedia.org]

    Obviously, people in that environment are preoccupied with one thought - "not me".

    Fucking over the other guy has evolved into a fine art there. Its totally vicious.

    Maybe AMD stumbled with 8150 in some academic sense. I think I am a demanding consumer of PCs .. I build my boxes, and I sure don't feel it. If it was less than expected, which is very different than bad, well then, obviously, onward.

    I'll never buy an Intel chip until they're the only chip maker on earth. Their business practices are as dirty and illegal as they come as the many lawsuits brought against them testify to. Is the Intel e3 1275 20% faster than an non-OC 8150 for another $150.00, almost twice the price of a 8150 ($169.00 Shell Shocker price this week) Fine. 20% for ethics and morality. It's what I give elsewhere in my life anyway.

    Oh, and this giving works out to another $150.00 bucks in my own pocket. Now that's a decision everyone involved can feel good about....

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 13, 2012 @07:53AM (#41640793)

    Current employee here (I'm not an official spokesperson, this may not be the corporate line, yadda yadda) let me clarify some stuff.

    The thing with Intel is, internally they're actually a worse corporation than even you described. Head hunters I have known almost immediately blanched at their name when I brought it up and said things like .. I do not recommend anyone work for Intel. I have seen the same remarks by the same professionals in print.

    Why? For generations now, it's been stocked to the gills with corporate psychopaths. Like above, so below. The level of viciousness of the politics is out of this world . For instance, there's something called "forced ranking" where 10% of their employees with the lowest scores on their reviews are automatically fired each year.

    Killing every tenth person in order to improve performance has another name- decimation.. deci-mation. It goes back to the Romans. Crassus used it to motivate the troops to capture Spartacus

    Yes, we have problems with people who exist only to further their own career, or that somehow subsist by controlling information such that no one else can get it. The information hoarders in particular are annoying because you have to have their blessing to get stuff done. I believe that any organization with >80k employees is going to have this somewhere in their organization

    We have some psychotic managers that act like 2 year olds. They put unattainable deadlines on the board and they hoard resources to do their job. I hear that this was the norm in the previous CEO's days because of the 10% layoffs of which you speak. The way it worked wasn't 10% of the worst employees, but rather entire departments would be cut for failing to meet the numbers. While I have a good manager, and several other people I know have, you may end up having one of these ancient trolls that still exist within the system. The perception is that Paul is trying to clean this stuff up, and the review process has been restructured to try to weed this out.

    Intel does have a bad reputation in some of the local communities for various reasons. I hear stories of construction projects that never started, never finished, or sat around forever. I'm sure you're not wrong about your headhunter stories.

    For reviews, employees are ranked in a scale against each other. You're put into one of 5 buckets, and you want to try to be in the top 3. The relative performance of each bucket is determined by the performance of you and your peers (i.e. you have to be better than your peers. If they all suck, the bar is pretty low, but if they're geniuses, you better work your ass off.). I don't think there's a set percentage for each bucket. If there's not enough people to compare you to at your site, you're compared to similar people in your hemisphere. This isn't all of it, like there's some more paperwork involved in getting feedback from coworkers and such, but at the end of the day you're in one of the buckets.

% "Every morning, I get up and look through the 'Forbes' list of the richest people in America. If I'm not there, I go to work" -- Robert Orben

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