AMD’s “Project Win” Strategy to Remain Mystery for Three Months

AMD to Remain Mum About Rory Read’s Strategy Shift Announcement

by Anton Shilov
11/09/2011 | 01:42 PM

Advanced Micro Devices’ recently appointed chief executive officer Rory Read on Wednesday addressed the company’s staff using a webcast. It is believed that during the conference via the Internet the head of the company explained the employees the chip designer’s new strategy and tactics. Unfortunately, the webcast was not made public and its contents will remain secret for around three months.


“Today's meeting is an employee meeting, so no, there is no external webcast. You should look ahead towards our Financial Analyst Day event in February, 2012, [for disclosure],” said Michael Silverman, a spokesman for AMD.

It is widely believed that Rory Read wants to refocus AMD onto more consumer oriented products. As a part of the new strategy, the low-power Bobcat micro-architecture and products on its base will play a very important role in future of the company. It is completely unclear what the company will attempt to do with its high-end architectures in the future. Nonetheless, it is unlikely that AMD has already set a new roadmap for the forthcoming years.

The company’s new strategy and tactics is called “Project WIN”, but the latter word is not an abbreviate for something like Winning In the New world, but is “simply an internal term/brand to describe the operational efficiencies” that the company “has addressed on the last several earnings calls”, according to an official statement. The latter fact means that the Win was not entirely architected by Rory Read, but also by the board of directors and certain executives (probably those, who were not fired during the recent layoffs). The key pillars of the recent initiatives of AMD are growing revenue, lowering costs and reducing time-to-market.

Last week AMD fired from 10% to 15% of its staff in order to reduce costs, something that was unnecessary according to many analysts. The company cut the staff across the board and fired particularly loads of marketing and public relations specialists, which will reduce the chip designer’s ability to communicate with the outside world on daily basis.

Just a little after the merger between AMD and ATI Technologies, AMD’s headcount was 16500 (of which around 2800 were employed at the fabs in Dresden, Germany), which means that the company needs headcount of around 13700 in order to create and sell leading-edge accelerated processing units, central processing units and graphics processing units. Meanwhile, the company now has less or around 10 000 people, which may simply be not enough to deliver quality products in time. For example, AMD’s latest Bulldozer micro-architecture was two years late and failed to impress the reviewers.

What was said today by Rory Read will be partially revealed earlier than in three months from now. However, it is clear that the company hardly made any massive announcements today, e.g., adopt ARM architecture and start developing chips for smartphones. Nonetheless, it is clear that AMD will never be the same as before.