Is AMD Preparing To Shift Focus Away From The Desktop?

Brad Chacos

When it comes to PCs, AMD processors are the only thing keeping Intel from complete and utter market domination. But could the plucky little David (OK, AMD's actually pretty pretty big) be preparing to throw in the towel against Intel’s x86 Goliath? A couple of comments by AMD spokesmen over the past few days makes the company's future on the PC seem much more hazy than it did just a few weeks ago, when Bulldozer launched.

The first ominous rumblings occurred in an article published by the San Jose Mercury news . In that report, AMD spokesman Mike Silverman said something that made tech followers’ ears perk up with interest. "We're at an inflection point,” Silverman said. "We will all need to let go of the old 'AMD versus Intel' mind-set, because it won't be about that anymore."

Wait, what? It won’t be about that any more? What does that mean? Late yesterday afternoon, AMD sent a statement about its future to The Verge .

AMD is a leader in x86 microprocessor design, and we remain committed to the x86 market. Our strategy is to accelerate our growth by taking advantage of our design capabilities to deliver a breadth of products that best align with broader industry shifts toward low power, emerging markets and the cloud .

So AMD may not be ready to throw in the x86-based towel just yet, but it lloks like the company plans on refocusing many of its efforts on servers and other low-energy markets. To our ears, “low power” screams netbooks, tablets and smartphones – areas that might not yet be dominated by Intel, but still field plenty of other competition in the form of ARM, Nvidia, Qualcomm, Texas Instruments and more.  Could AMD actually manage to establish a firm foothold in such a crowded market? AMD told the San Jose Mercury News that it would outline its future much more clearly in a February 2012 strategy update – we’ll just have to wait (and hold our breath) until then.

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