Will AMD Stop Fabbing Their Own Chips?
"AMD continues to look at multiple options that leverage our world-class manufacturing capabilities and relationships to achieve an optimum blend of internal and external operations."
Let's play PowerPoint Bingo with that short sentence. Let's see, we've got:
- multiple options
- leverage (used as a verb)
- world-class (fill-in the blank)
- optimum blend (not referring to coffee)
- internal and external operations
Bingo! They said absolutely nothing. If you substituted "NAZI Germany" for "AMD" in that sentence, that could mean they were about to invade Poland. It's that vague. Saying nothing to the media leads to all sorts of wild speculation. Some of the most interesting answers to the "whither AMD?" question center on AMD ending the fabrication of the chips they design altogether.
Real men go bankrupt sometimes, too, when they stubbornly cling to approaches that don't work. Intel is always upping the ante on AMD, requiring them to expend enormous sums to build chip fabrication plants that are close to obsolete the minute they come on line. If AMD concentrated on chip design, their undoubted strength, and farmed out the fab, they'd be more nimble and not be stuck writing off sunk costs over and over when Intel dumps their dumptruck of money into their next-generation fabrication plant. BusinessWeek thinks the subcontrated fab approach is at least on the table now, and until AMD tells us what they're going to do, it's as good a guess as anybody's.