Intel and AMD have unveiled their latest plans for the future. AMD’s aim is to return to profitability, the company’s top executives told its shareholders at a meeting held yesterday. The company is looking to its quad-core Barcelona Opteron chip, due this summer, to help it become more competitive in both processor performance and pricing. It will also increase its emphasis on graphics processors (Link), due to the fact that its Radeon R600 family is due soon and thanks to the increased focus on graphics brought on Microsoft's Vista OS. Furthermore, it will continue its work to taking advantage of opportunities in emerging markets.
AMD's top executives held some parts of its latest strategy back, though. The company, which has hinted about outsourcing more processor production, is continuing to look at manufacturing. It’s expected to outline those plans for analysts later this summer. For Intel, the plan is less about heavy lifting--something it's done a lot of over the last year--and more about maintaining its present momentum. The chipmaker company told financial analysts, yesterday, that it feels it’s on track to post higher profits and to maintain its market share gains against AMD.
Going forward, it’s looking to grow by expanding its presence in the markets for handhelds and consumer electronics devices. It feels it can deliver products to those industries which will increase its revenue significantly. (Link.) Meanwhile, Intel believes lower prices on computers, particularly laptops, have opened up the door to PC ownership for larger number of families in emerging economies. At an average price of about $600, top Intel execs believe about 1 billion families can now afford PCs. For what it's worth, the PC market is in high 200-million-unit range, annually, right now.
For AMD, the question is how soon can it return to profitabilty. The answer? It's probably not likely before the fourth quarter of this year, when it's latest and greatest products have had time to being penetrating the market and its combined AMD-ATI sales engine has had time to rev up. For Intel, the question is twofold. How does it maintain its current momentum? The chipmaker's execs answered that question by saying they intend to continue delivering higher-performing processors. But the other question is more fundamental. It's what is Intel is doing, now, that's different than before when it comes to wooing handhelds and consumer electronics devices? The quick answer is its got an all new set of products it intends to being rolling out for those two spaces. There’s no doubt that Intel should be exploring handhelds and CE devices. After all, they represent huge business opportuniteis for teh comapny. But I can't say I'm surprised to see skepticism about this new strategy among the press. Indeed, its low-cost handheld/CE chip, Silverthorne, has already drawn doubts from some, including Businessweek (Link), yesterday.