Now if Only You Could Multi-Core Your Earnings
It’s slower than initial expectations and about six months later than originally promised, but Advanced Micro Devices’ quad-core Opteron (Barcelona) processor is still a milestone for the company and perhaps an antidote for its sagging financial fortunes.
The new server chip, which puts four processors on a single silicon die, is the first of its kind and AMD’s shot at regaining some of the market its lost to a resurgent Intel. The company’s market share was about 25% in the middle of 2006. By mid-2007, it had slipped to close to 13%. “There is nothing that we would have been more excited about than getting it out earlier,” AMD CEO Hector Ruiz told eWeek. “But you know we are not making excuses. This is a damn difficult thing to do, as I’m sure you can imagine. …This is 600 million transistors on a chip, four cores, complex technology and tremendous architectural features. It was, frankly, a little tougher challenge than we had anticipated and it frustrated the hell out of us because we wanted to get it out there earlier.”
Of course you did. The Quad-Core AMD Opteron arrives at market nearly a year after Intel began shipping quad-core processors of its own and follows a string of consecutive quarterly losses. The stakes here have been high for quite a while. But is the quad-core Opteron the winning hand for which AMD hopes? Perhaps. Perhaps not. “Barcelona is not the sweeping challenge to Intel they wanted to make,” analyst Rob Enderle told the Austin American Statesman. “This keeps them in the game and competing. But it’s not a leadership position.”
Certainly, Intel doesn’t think so. This morning the company announced that it now expects third quarter revenue to be between $9.4 billion and $9.8 billion, improving on its previous guidance of $9 billion to $9.6 billion.