AMD launches first computer brand
By Duncan Martell
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Advanced Micro Devices Inc <AMD.N> on Sunday unveiled its first computer brand, aimed at small and medium-sized businesses, with design and sales help from its major chip customers such as Dell Inc.
AMD Business Class desktop personal computers will be followed by notebook PCs in the second half of this year.
AMD customers who plan to sell the computers include Acer <2353.TW>, Dell, Fujitsu-Siemens, Hewlett-Packard Co <HPQ.N>, and Lenovo <0992.HK>, said Hal Speed, a marketing architect for AMD based in Austin.
"It's not like retail," he said. "People are buying this for work and we really tried to identify the nuggets (of technology for business desktop PCs) that weren't being looked at."
The new product line is part of AMD's efforts to regain its competitive edge against Intel Corp <INTC.O> after a disastrous 2007. AMD has reported six consecutive quarters of net losses as Intel has regained much of the market share that it lost to AMD in 2005 and the first part of 2006.
AMD is also seeking to use the leverage it built with the success of its Opteron microprocessors, which have made inroads into the server market over the last few years against Intel, a larger company.
"AMD has tackled the consumer market, they've made significant inroads into the mobile PC market, and they've made some inroads into the business market," said Dean McCarron, an analyst at market research firm In-Stat. "This is an important program for them."
AMD said Business Class is initially aimed at the small- and medium-size business market, but is also designed to scale up to the biggest corporate clients as well. The desktops include AMD Phenom X3 triple-core and AMD Phenom X4 quad-core processors as well as AMD Athlon X2 dual-core processors.
PC makers can also choose AMD 780V chipsets or optional ATI Radeon HO 3000 series graphics chips, and the platform will also support non-AMD graphics and chipsets, such as graphics chips from ATI rival Nvidia Corp.
Analysts said that big-business customers like a General Electric Co as well as small and medium businesses want stability, longevity, reliability, manageability and good performance in the PCs they buy for their employees.
"Where AMD has been lacking is in business PCs with deployments in the thousands of units," said Roger Kay, an analyst with Endpoint Technologies Associates, a market research firm.
"Big companies replace thousands of PCs over the course of more than a year and during that time they don't want what they are buying to change in terms of configurations."
(Editing by Richard Chang)