AMD chips to be in many more PCs this summer – sources

Originally published May 6, 2010

By Ian Sherr

(Reuters) – Advanced Micro Devices Inc may make some of its largest inroads into the fast-growing laptop computer market thanks to a new generation of power-efficient chips to be unveiled next week.

People familiar with the matter who work for AMD said the company’s latest microprocessors are expected to be included in 109 mainstream laptop models in the coming months, the company’s best showing during the crucial back-to-school sales season. Last year, AMD’s chips were available in 40 laptop models.

“This is the first time we’ve seen this much attention to our notebooks,” the source said, referencing the company’s laptop chips.

And while shifts in market share are yet to be seen, “typically more design wins dictates more sales,” the source said, adding the company’s offerings are growing steadily across the major PC manufacturers.

The perennial second-fiddle to market giant Intel Corp has struggled to gain market share within laptop PCs, which have outpaced the growth of desktop PCs in recent years.

AMD’s stock has underperformed Intel since the beginning of the year, losing 14.57 percent of its value, where Intel has gained 5.44 percent.

However, AMD’s stock more than doubled off its 52-week low of $3.22 to close Thursday’s session at $8.27 on the New York Stock Exchange.


Early signs are that the new range of chips to be unveiled next week are getting positive responses from top PC makers due to AMD’s attempts to simplify its numerous offerings under its new “Vision” brand, as well as improved battery life and performance across the line, according to one of the sources.

In the first quarter of 2010, AMD represented 12.1 percent of worldwide mobile chip sales, according to IDC. Intel’s market share was 87.8 percent.

While AMD has been slowly gaining market share over the past year for both desktops and notebooks, its strength slipped in the lucrative server market, ending 2009 with 10.1 percent share compared to 13.4 percent in 2008.

Now, AMD says it’s focusing on the consumer segment, which is expected to fuel PC growth.

Latest figures from industry watcher iSuppli peg notebook PC shipments growing 25.5 percent in 2010, to 209.5 million units from last year’s 166.9 million.

The sources also told Reuters that all of the microprocessors in the forthcoming laptops will be matched with AMD’s chipsets — collections of chips that connect the microprocessing brain to other parts of the computer.

That means AMD can collect more revenue for each laptop sold than it can when its microprocessors are paired with chipsets from other companies like Nvidia Corp.

The PC makers expected to feature AMD’s new chips as early as June include Hewlett-Packard Co, Lenovo, Acer Inc, and Dell Inc, the sources said.

(Reporting by Ian Sherr; editing by Carol Bishopric)

(Published May 6, 2010 on the wire at Reuters News, here.)