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AMD Moves To Fuse Graphics and Processing

Chip maker AMD announced some strategic moves this week regarding the race for dominance in the graphics-plus-microprocessor space.

In a release issued Wednesday, the company outlined a new operating model that aligns resources to optimize the development and distribution of its performance graphics and microprocessor integration. The new model organizes the products, technology, marketing and customer functionalities into four separate groups.

According to a statement by AMD President and CEO Dirk Meyer, the new structure will tighten the company's focus on delivering the next generation of microprocessor and graphics technologies.

"It makes good structural sense," said Martin Lawrence, vice president and chief analyst for Gartner, in a telephone interview Thursday. "There is a race to find the right balance between graphics functionality and processing. AMD is positioning itself at the higher end of the market with its high-performance graphics technologies, while Intel is starting at the other end."

The goal for both chip makers, according to Lawrence, is to create a technology that will deliver faster, smaller and cheaper graphics performance to the user.

"There's been a lot of tension in the market between delivering graphics quality and computing performance," Lawrence said. "Graphics cards have been large and expensive for the most part, and they simply don't fit into today's demand for smaller, lighter and cheaper computers."

The new alignment of resources at AMD puts the graphics and microprocessor groups together in single group. A newly created Advanced Technology Group will focus on future technology and innovation, according to the released statement. Marketing functions will also be a standalone group, and the sales organization will now join the Customer Group.

The reorganization, according to Meyer, will support the "next generation of innovation in the computer industry" which is the "fusion of microprocessor and graphics technologies."

In the same announcement, Meyer noted that Randy Allen, former senior vice president of the Computing Solutions Group, has decided to leave the company. First quarter revenues, also reported this week by AMD, were flat compared to the fourth quarter of 2008 and down 21 percent from the first quarter of last year.

About the Author

Herb Torrens is an award-winning freelance writer based in Southern California. He managed the MCSP program for a leading computer telephony integrator for more than five years and has worked with numerous solution providers including HP/Compaq, Nortel, and Microsoft in all forms of media.

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