AMD tries to woo back channel

Radical plans afoot after Q1 'arse kicking'

AMD has admitted that its channel business has been hit hard and today announced that it is to launch a new programme to claw back its marketshare.

AMD channel vice president John Byrne said at a briefing in Tunis today that AMD and ATI sales and marketing teams in Europe had already joined forces, and that similar plans were afoot in the US this quarter.

He said it was impossible to merge channels and that instead the focus would be on working harder with the firm's regional AIB partners to recover ground in a market dominated by Intel.

The chipmaker hopes its customers will cooperate to help simplify its channel programmes, with "an open platform" selling bundled AMD graphics chips and CPUs as well as chipsets.

AMD reckons it currently shifts up to 48 million discrete TAM units, with the largest share at 23 million in the EMEA market. As though to underline the point, it's no surprise this briefing was staged in Tunisia.

But Byrne conceded that it had been a rough quarter for the chip-making giant, which has seen a loss of over $600m - the firm has admitted its focus on OEMs had alienated its traditional partners in the channel.

Byrne told reporters today: "We've had our arse kicked."

He said the challenge now was "all about winning the market back, providing top to bottom pricing" at a competitive level as well as ensuring "transparency" every step of the way.

AMD plans to integrate two channel programmes into one and "ring-fence the world's top AMD customers", said Byrne, the idea being to focus on becoming a "data-driven organisation".

It's a heads-up approach that could have its detractors - those uncomfortable with the level of transparency needed to partner effectively with the new programme.

Customers would be required to cough up data on the products they sell by segment rather than quarter. As an incentive, existing CPU customers in some regions would be propped up with graphics funding.

Byrne threw some interesting figures into the mix, with 30 per cent of AMD products being sold at less than $49 and three per cent at the more than $200 end of the scale.

He added that the firm had seen a growth spurt in China with some 800,000 boards being shipped there every month, giving what he described as "significantly more market share."

Byrne also said the "expected boom" with Microsoft's latest operating system was "yet to be seen" but added: "When it happens, we'll be there."

The new channel programme will kick off from 1 May. ®

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