Rough Road Ahead for AMD

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AMD may have fixed the problems with the Barcelona processor, but there are still questions surrounding its ability to compete in an increasingly tight hardware market and whether it has the chops to avoid being bought out altogether.


AMD is making a renewed push in the volume market for devices like desktops, laptops and embedded systems, but that only seems to have provoked questions in specialty markets. High-performance computing (HPC) is a prime example, as pundits are starting to question whether AMD could begin losing ground to Intel and Nvidia, both of which have laid out solid HPC strategies.


Mark Rich, AMD's director of marketing, told HPC Wire this week that the company will go all out to reconnect with the HPC community in 2008, although there was no mention of how the company plans to stay ahead of Intel once that company's QuickPath interconnect starts showing up on the Xeon.


There's no denying that the overwhelming number of supercomputer installations around the world are AMD-based. The company recently won another contract this month -- from Japan's Kyoto University as part of a 400-server+ Fujitsu cluster. However, there are some cracks in this wall. Late last year, Sun Microsystems had to outfit their system in Korea's KISTI institute with Intel silicon due to AMD delivery problems.


All of this has the speculation mill -- if not the actual rumor mill -- running that AMD would make a nice acquisition target considering its stock has taken a beating as of late. This article in TG Daily spells out why Intel, Nvidia and IBM would make proud new parents.


One thing is clear, though. The tech industry won't abide a laggard for very long. AMD took a bad fall in 2007, so it had better get back on its game in 2008 or it might not live to see 2009.