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Brian

AMD to lay off up to 30% of its employees

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With continually dwindling marketshare and poor growth, AMD's fortunes have been taking a turn for the worst for quite awhile now. This shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone that keeps a close eye on the tech sector although what may be eye opening is the fact that this round of lay offs will include engineers. Rumor has it that the engineers to be laid off are the ones in Canada and Charlie from SA makes it seem like this is the result if mismanagement and will seal AMD's fate.

Personally I think he's over sensationalizing the entire situation. Yes, AMD is in deep trouble financially because their CPU division has not been competitive for years, especially with their recent CPU architectures being utter failures compared to their Intel counterparts. However, upon closer inspection, you will notice that the engineers in Canada are not the core team of AMD engineers--those guys are located in Sunnyvale, California. The main GPU design team is also in Sunnyvale, CA. The Canadian division did have a smaller GPU + Catalyst team out there but AFAIK, the key guys were moved to California awhile back.

Furthermore, AMD has been ratcheting up their AMD India development team who have been busy making SoC's and graphics chips for the company. This enables AMD to pick up engineers at a much cheaper price in a rapidly developing region (India/China/Pakistan etc). The argument that quality will suffer can't be made either because industry giants like Microsoft, Intel, IBM and others employ a huge chunk of Indian/Pakistani engineers that are on their chip development teams. So will this be a good or bad thing for AMD in the long run? In the short term, AMD is hemorrhaging market share and money and they need to consolidate quickly. This round of lay offs may be the beginning of a larger restructuring that the company desperately needs to survive.

Another avenue AMD should consider is getting an ARM license like their rival nVidia has done with Tegra. While nVidia faces stiff competition from Samsung, Qualcomm and others, it isn't as intense as the 800 lb gorilla known as Intel. Intel has basically made AMD unviable in the x86 market (consumer and server) so their only way of surviving is to start focusing heavily on low power SoC for smartphones and tablets. The PC is in decline in general and AMD is very late to the party.

AMD India: http://www.amd.com/in/aboutamd/Pages/aboutamd.aspx

About AMD India

AMD India plays a significant role in the design of microprocessors, AMD Family of Accelerated Processing Units (APU) SoCs, graphics and media solutions. AMD has two design centers in India, located in Hyderabad and Bengaluru. With top-tier engineering talent, state of the art facilities, and world class management, AMD India has been delivering world-class, cost-effective System-On-Chips (SOCs), Hardware and Software platforms and high quality Intellectual Property.

AMD India is also responsible for AMD's sales & marketing activities in the 'India Region' (comprising of India, Nepal, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka), and is focused on expanding AMD's market share in the rapidly growing PC and graphics market in this region.

AMD India strives to recruit and retain the best talent, make AMD a great place to work, and be an integral part of the AMD family by continuing to contribute significantly to AMD's success.

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To be honest, it doesn't surprise me that AMD needs to drop some employees. I pretty much saw it coming as they have suffered from several factors.

The first one is, as you mentioned, the Bulldozer disaster. That definately turned off most of their "loyal" customers and early adopters, causing newcomers often to not even consider AMD's CPUs an option. But they learned the lesson and more or less halted their Desktop CPU developement and mostly switched to developing Smartphone/Tablet CPUs.

The second critical failure was ignoring peoples demands and suggestions towards the GPU driver (Catalyst) development. While AMD's graphic cards are predominantly on par with Nvidia counterparts in terms of hardware, they were hold back by their driver support. I learned this myself as I bought my Clevo x7200 with two AMD 6970M's. The drivers offered became worse and worse over the months, causing new deal-breaking bugs and problems while often fixing unnecessary things. This definately killed my trust in AMD, maybe for good. I estimate I am not the only one, so perhaps many "AMD first-timer" will never look at AMD again if they encounter only half of what I went through. Also, just look at what AMD did with Enduro to their new mobile flagship, the 7970M. It can't even be turned off in most recent Clevo Notebooks, hence crippling the performance by approximately 20% in many games. And I know AMD promised a fix for that, but the card is out like half a year now and according to polls in the NBR-Forum a large number of people are unhappy with their 7970M. And that is a shame since the 7970M has the power of performing equal to the 680M while costing like half as much. The pricing definately attracts people, but does not convince them to stick with AMD in the long run, hence I don't expect AMD to become more dominant in either of those 2 markets again.

People often consider Nvidia overpriced, and it is true that their pricing is sometimes ridiculous. But at the same time, they don't leave their customer behind with a bad feeling for purchasing their product after one month. They develop "proper" drivers, which are crucial in the mid- to long term to satisfy the customer.

I am glad I god rid of my 6970M's and switched to a GTX 680M, which is not even officially supported in my Notebook and yet performs without a single issue in any game and application I tried.

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As a owner of a pair the driver situation hits right at home. It truly is frustrating having good hardware that can't often be enjoyed without some form of an issue related to its driver. Updating a driver used to be like excitement of what optimizations have come... but what we have got this year is a whole lot of nothing. AMD will try to sell next gen before they remotely have the driver situation taken care of. Thats like borrowing for your next project when you haven't finished your first. We don't get what we pay for. Its a shame as AMD cards are hard to kill by stress... I haven't had such an issue. They are very close its a shame they dont get on this. So many are losing faith in AMD. I like my 7970m's but I want ALL my games to work not just the ones that feel like working :/

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It's really sad..AMD for a little while there, back when the Athlon came out, was going toe to toe with Intel.

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