Also, if the development for the products has already been largely done, AMD would take the business because it helps get their products out there, and improves support.
No, you have an incorrect understanding of the flow of development then. Products for contracts for the customer's specific usage is done from the start even if it is re-using existing IPs in terms of core or GPU families.
I shall give you the over simplified flow for most companies. I know of AMD's exact flow but wont talk about any specifics as its not for public consumption.
Simulation models--->Design-->Verification->GDS/Tapeout-->Fabing>First silcion-->Post-silcion bring up-->Test program developments-more design changes if needed-more revs of silicon and fabing/testing - ATE/Yeild->Fusing->Ship
People have the misconception that you can just slap in cores and GPU families as they want and/or do process shrinks and ship a product. There is way much more to it than that.
The test program development phase for example it self takes almost a year in some extreme cases or as short as say 6-7 months if things go good (rarely it does), because test points for JTAG, SCAN, BIST their patterns, levels timing etc is different for the exact same core or GPU IP when mixed with other IPs.
When its a brand new project it takes about 4 years, when its re-using existing IPs it takes 2-3 years.
Again, who ever made a lot of money from Microsoft? It doesn't happen. Microsoft is known for wanting things for free.
Thats your assumption. It would help to know how you arrived at this.
No one is forcing anyone to sign a business loss generating or low profit deal with MS.
Low margins plus high volumes still make for reasonable profits.
Reasonable profits have been happening with their GPU division already, that was not enough as they have been bleeding out due to high investments into GPU/CPU divisions to keep their advantage and/or advance forwards while the CPU division was not bringing in the profits, infact now losses. You need much more to fund R&D developments constantly to maintain you technology edge. Having barely enough profits and continuing to move forward with limited R&D expenditure leads to complete loss of technology value in a short time.
Many research and development efforts are exploratory and are never productized but that doesn't mean you stop research to avoid looses to projects that never see the light of day. This all must be born from another misconception that engineers in what ever they do always result in productizable research.
Microsoft knows they can dominate AMD, and they have, and there is just no reason to give them healthy margins. It is well known they are ruthless negotiators, and AMD is used to bowing to them, and hoping for good will.
You make it sound like AMD is desperate for anyone to take up their products. Again as I said above they don't have a ready product until the customer gives their requirements. So there is no need to assume there is an automatic loss if MS doesn't sign a contract.
Secondly MS doesn't dominate AMD, if you are getting this impression from their move into tablets with Windows 8 only thats because the world hasn't yet heard of some key developments. All in due time.
They have been doing favors for OEMs who place orders at first and when the Llanos are ready to ship they cancel the order resulting in the last 100 million dollar worth Llano write off.
No more again, they wont horde units for anyone anymore until firms orders are received. Their BU is working with the OEMs on how the new business model will work. No more anticipation in orders.
MS's supposed ruthlessness is of no use, AMD is not interested in a deal where the gross margins do no meet their minimum requirements.
You are an investor in AMD shares? You of all people should know making a small profit is not enough to sustain a large operation and team of people for a project when they should be using gained profits to fund further innovations apart from paying for head count on the project and cdovering capex. AMD isn't a grocery store where the small margins are fine as they don't have to fund development of anything they just sell. AMD is not a grocery seller, they develop their technologies.
There are a lot of ways Microsoft can help AMD, besides paying reasonable prices for the processors in the X-Box. If you think both Microsoft or AMD aren't aware of this, and Microsoft isn't using this leverage to their advantage, I think that's a naive outlook.
This is all street gossip with not much truth to it. MS is not scary tyrant people make them out to be. They are struggling in several markets and none of their alleged ruthlessness is helping to gain a foothold.
Microsoft isn't anyone's friend. Nor have they ever been. They have always used their position in the market to extract every last concession, and to think they aren't now is a strange outlook, to me.
Yes and that is because your initial assumptions on how things get done where incorrect. Now that you know the flow you must re-analyze your findings.
None of this is confirmation or denial that AMD has snagged console orders, let me make that clear. I believe some posters in here who already know me, know that I am aware of who are the real companies and what the specs are of these consoles.