Arik Hesseldahl

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Chipmaker AMD to Cut 10 Percent of Workforce

In what appears to be the first big job for new CEO Rory Read, chipmaker Advanced Micro Devices just announced that it’s going to cut its workforce by 10 percent in order to get costs under control.

The job cuts will hit the company globally and will be completed by the end of the first quarter of 2012, the company said in a statement. The company says the move will reduce operating expenses by $118 million in 2012 and by $10 million in the fourth quarter of 2011.

The cuts will amount to about 1,400 of AMD’s 12,000-strong workforce. What you’ll read elsewhere is that AMD is suffering from a worldwide slowdown in PCs, caused in large part by the growth of Apple’s iPad business and to a lesser extent other tablets. But it’s a little more complicated than that when you consider that AMD’s share of the market actually grew slightly in the second quarter, according to the latest numbers I have from Mercury Research, which tracks the market share between the two chipmakers. As of August, AMD was running a 19.4 percent share of the PC and server business, up from 18.2 percent in the first quarter, while Intel’s share dropped slightly from 81 percent in the first quarter to 79.9 percent in the second. Those fractions of a percentage point actually matter to both companies.

The bigger problem is that AMD is nowhere in tablets or smart phones and that was one of the reasons that Read was brought in to replace Dirk Meyer, who surprised everyone by resigning after a fight with his board of directors in January.

In the meantime, expect AMD to make a big fuss about server chips in the coming weeks.

AMD’s statement is below.

AMD Optimizes Cost Structure to Enhance Competitiveness and Accelerate Growth

Operational Savings of More Than $200 Million in 2012 Designed to Accelerate Future Growth in Lower Power, Emerging Markets and the Cloud

SUNNYVALE, CA–(Marketwire -11/03/11)- AMD (NYSE: AMD – News) today announced a restructuring plan and implementation of operational efficiency initiatives designed to strengthen the company’s competitive positioning. AMD expects that these combined actions will create a more competitive cost structure and rebalance the company’s global workforce skillsets, helping AMD to continue delivering industry-leading products while improving productivity, reducing time-to-market and better aligning with key industry trends that are expected to drive growth.

“Reducing our cost structure and focusing our global workforce on key growth opportunities will strengthen AMD’s competitiveness and allow us to aggressively pursue a balanced set of strategic activities designed to accelerate future growth,” said Rory Read, AMD president and CEO. “The actions we are taking are designed to improve our ability to consistently address the needs of our global customer base and stake leadership positions in lower power, emerging markets and the cloud.”

AMD expects that the restructuring plan will result in operational savings, primarily in operating expenses, of approximately $10 million in the fourth quarter of 2011 and $118 million in 2012, primarily through a reduction of its global workforce by approximately 10% and the termination of existing contractual commitments. The workforce reduction will occur across all functions globally and is expected to be substantially completed by the end of the first quarter of 2012. Based on anticipated savings from the restructuring plan, AMD expects fourth quarter 2011 operating expenses will be approximately $610 million.

As a result of implementing efficiencies across the company’s operations, AMD expects to save approximately $90 million in 2012 operating expenses in addition to the restructuring plan savings, resulting in more than $200 million of expected combined operational savings in 2012.

The company expects to reinvest a significant portion of the savings to fund initiatives designed to accelerate AMD’s strategies for lower power, emerging markets, and the cloud.

The company’s actions pursuant to the restructuring plan will take place primarily during fourth quarter of 2011, with some restructuring plan activities extending into 2012. The company currently estimates that it will record restructuring expense in the fourth quarter of 2011 and in 2012 of approximately $101 million and $4 million, respectively. Of the total restructuring expense, approximately $56 million will be future cash expenditures in 2011, $33 million will be future cash expenditures in 2012 and $15 million will be future cash expenditures in 2013.

About AMD
AMD (NYSE: AMD – News) is a semiconductor design innovator leading the next era of vivid digital experiences with its groundbreaking AMD Fusion Accelerated Processing Units (APUs) that power a wide range of computing devices. AMD’s server computing products are focused on driving industry-leading cloud computing and virtualization environments. AMD’s superior graphics technologies are found in a variety of solutions ranging from game consoles, PCs to supercomputers. For more information, visit http://www.amd.com.


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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik