While AMD’s FirePro and Radeon GPU divisions have been knocking them out of the park with design and performance wins, their core CPU division has suffered a major blow to the prestige they earned in the 2000s, which was the last time they beat Intel in several key areas. The release and subsequent press thrashing that their new flagship CPU AMD FX (“Bulldozer”) received hasn’t gone unnoticed. Pundits have asked where AMD went wrong, and speculation ranges from fundamental design flaws to AMD PR shipping less-than-optimal motherboards to reviewers.
AMD’s APU and Fusion platform continue to score big wins with netbook and small form-factor OEMs, but they still need a competitive high-end CPU to go toe-to-toe with Intel’s Sandy Bridge-E and upcoming Ivy Bridge, which are almost certain to retain Intel’s performance crown. According to a now-former AMD employee that we spoke with, “All the meeting rooms are booked solid by HR” as the layoffs continue to roll through the shaken company. An official announcement is expected soon and we’ll be covering this story as it unfolds.
UPDATE 2:48PM EST:
Some of the AMD folks that have gotten laid off today include Director of the Products Group, senior engineer Carrell Killebrew; PR Manager Antal Tungler; PR Rep Bernard Fernandes; FirePro Product Marketing Managers Robert Miller and Lidia Gentilucci; Corporate VP of Strategy and Fellow Patrick Moorhead; Margaret Franco, VP of Marketing; and John Volkmann, Corporate Marketing Fellow.
We’re expecting many, many more names before this week is out.
UPDATE: 3:17PM EST:
A letter from AMD CEO Rory Read found on Pastebin:
- Today we undertook the difficult, but necessary step, of implementing a reduction in our AMD workforce. This is a company-wide action that will include all functions and locations across AMD and impact approximately 10% of our global workforce. A decision to lay off fellow employees is never easy or taken lightly, but these reductions are a required step to remain competitive and ready the company for 2012. This action was necessary to rebalance our skillsets, drive to a more competitive cost structure and enable us to fund our key growth areas.
- Over the past 60 days we have been working through a detailed review of our business, our market and our growth opportunities. Our industry is at an inflection point as new trends emerge around the consumer experience, the breakdown of traditional control points and technology convergence. It’s clear we have to take aggressive steps to create distinct value for our customers, and must optimize our existing business today while enabling the company to capture future growth. If we do not take action now, we will miss these opportunities and be squeezed out.
- To strengthen our market position, we have to rebalance our skillsets to better align with these market shifts and implement a more competitive cost structure. Our competitors are serious and significant, and we will take the required actions to beat them. All of the transformation work we have underway, like Project WIN, will help drive operational improvements, increase efficiencies and lower our operating costs, but we need to take additional action. A lower cost base allows us to be more competitive today and to invest back into the business to fuel our “attack” strategies in— low power, emerging markets and the cloud. I will share more insights into our strategy and path forward in my upcoming Worldcast on November 9th.
- I believe in my core that AMD is uniquely positioned to take advantage of the opportunities in front of us, and it is up to us to seize them. If we stay focused and continue to tap into the fighting spirit that lives within the walls of AMD, we can build momentum every day moving forward. We must continue to come together as an organization and write the next chapter for AMD – together as one unified company. We are building a company to last and need every single AMDer around the planet working together and toward the same goals. This is our company and our time to seize the opportunities, to step out of the shadows of others and to lead in this changing technology landscape.
- There is no question it is difficult to see our friends and co-workers move on. But we cannot allow this to reduce our focus or commitment. We still have work to do as we prepare for 2012 and I am entirely confident that we will be ready. We must keep moving forward. Customer interest for our products is positive and demand remains strong, so it’s critical that we remain focused on delivering on our commitments in Q4. Please do not let up or pause. We must act and must always do what we say and own what we do … it’s the AMD way.
- Together we will accomplish great things.
Update 4:52pm EST:
The AP is reporting that AMD says it is laying off 1400 employees, more than the original 1000 that Mr. Read alluded to.
Update 3:01pm EST 11/04/2011:
We found out that head of FirePro product marketing Craig Lakey, and FirePro product management for entry level and mid-range discrete products Hao Pham were both let go yesterday.
Update 10:15pm EST 11/04/2011:
We just got an email from John Swinimer, letting us know that he was let go as well. He was PR manager for GPUs.