Perpetual PC chipmaking underdog AMD is having a rough time of it in the mobile age. The stock is in the tank, and they lost $146 million last quarter on $1.09 billion in revenue. AMD needs to figure out a way to make a splash in mobile quick if it intends on surviving.
Over the past year, there’s been some sign that AMD has been taking this threat seriously. Last August, Jim Keller — previously director of Apple’s mobile platform architecture group — was enticed over to AMD, reporting to former Apple hardware chief Mark Papermaster. Reportedly, Keller was focusing on developing high-performance, low-power processor cores at AMD.
Now it looks like AMD is looking to beef up its mobile division even further. It is now being reported that AMD has poached Raja Koduri, Apple’s director of graphics architecture.
Warren East, who has spent the last 12 years as CEO of ARM, has announced that he will retire on July 1. During his time in charge, East has overseen ARM’s processor design powerhouse through some of its most explosive growth, thanks to lucrative deals with companies like Apple, AMD, and Qualcomm.
AMD has made two big re-hires, one being Wayne Meretsky, a former technical lead for OS X at Apple. Another is Charles Matar, a former employee who went to Qualcomm and has now been made AMD’s vice president of System-on-Chip Development. Both men bring chip design expertise, which AMD sorely needs if it hopes to remain competitive with the likes of Nvdia.
Meretsky worked on the Mac back in the 90s, and he is now AMD’s vice president of Software IP Development. This isn’t the first time AMD has hired from Apple’s talent pool.
Apple could be looking to switch its graphics cards supplier from NVIDIA back to AMD for the iMac. The Cupertino company began using NVIDIA solutions for its latest all-in-one, which started shipping late last month, but a job listing on its website suggests it could already be preparing to switch back. Apple is looking for a Hardware Systems Electrical Engineer with experience in AMD graphics processing units (GPU).
Intel falls flat trying to claim it can convince Apple to use its chips in iPads and iPhones
Intel may be the biggest world’s biggest chip maker, but the company failed to cash in on the mobile technology craze. Staying focused on desktops and laptops where it had a near lock on general computing market, Intel missed out taking the lead in smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices.
Now trying to play catchup, Intel has introduced its own ARM-competing tablets. The company is so confident (or arrogant) that it thinks it can make chips so compelling that Apple “can’t ignore” them for future iterations of the iPhone and iPad.
HP bucks Intel, announces line including AMD chips and netbook pricing.
Even as the iPad continues to slowly strangle the life out of the netbook market, HP is determined to rebrand that small, inexpensive laptop category while also breaking away from Intel’s MacBook Air-like ultrabook standard. Calling the new line of laptops “sleekbooks,” HP is repudiating Intel’s ultrabook requirements and cozying up with Intel’s longtime rival AMD.
The new sleekbook devices were announced along with new ultrabook models in HP’s Envy line. The new sleekbooks aim to strike a balance somewhere between Intel’s rigid ultrabook specs and the netbook ideal of minimal, low-cost notebooks.
Apple updated its hugely popular MacBook Air last year to introduce Intel’s Core i5 and Core i7 processors. But the Cupertino company very nearly shipped the ultraportable with an AMD chip instead. An employee for AMD has confirmed that it was very close to striking a deal with Apple, but AMD’s poor production yields meant that Intel was a better option.
Apple has neglected to update its Mac Pro for just under 18 months now, and recent speculation has suggested that the company may be set to discontinue the high-end desktop. However, according to drivers found in the latest Mac OS X 10.7.3 beta, a new Mac Pro is on its way, packing AMD’s upcoming “Tahiti” graphics cards.
After Apple finally converted its entire Mac lineup to AMD, SemiAccurateis reporting that Apple is switching back to NVIDIA as the graphics chip supplier for the upcoming MacBook Pro model in 2012.
While the report doesn’t specifically say why Apple is planning its move back to NVIDIA, it looks as though the rumored MacBook Pro refresh for 2012 will include NVIDIA graphics and possibly the Intel Ivy Bridge processor.