In an interview with The Register, AMD head of sales and marketing Henri Richard has said that he is not worried about the performance gap between Opteron and Xeon server chips levelling out. “I think even if we didn’t attract new customers [to the Opteron], for whatever reason, then going deep and wide into the current customers is plenty to keep us busy for years to come. We are now in 90% of the Fortune 100 and 57% of the Fortune 1000. We have plenty of work to do.”
He did admit in a roundabout manner however that Intel could claw back ground in the market. “It’s possible that [customers] might use Intel technology for one part of their data centre and AMD in another area based on where the two architectures shine the best. We are going to maintain the lead in many areas, and we’ll see whether there is a tie or not in other areas. It is a little too early to tell.”
On the issue of Dell, AMD is not sweet talking the number one in the business anymore, preferring a brand of tough love to try and convince Michael that AMD chips should go in his machines. “I wouldn’t read too much into the comments we made months ago. I think we were reacting to something that we felt was unfair, which was statements by Dell executives that they were seeing no demand in their customer base for AMD systems. I continue to maintain that is not true. I have meetings with large customers, and we know that they have asked Dell to reconsider their position.”
He did point out that since it acquired Alienware earlier in the year, Dell is now technically already an AMD customer. That sideshow aside, AMD still sees getting into the pants of the real Dell business as important. “I have to be optimistic about our long term plans. Our long term plans are to capture 30% of the business in both units and dollars. If you think that we have a chance to get there, I think that it’s difficult to imagine a world where we have that sort of a share without some sort of a relationship with the number one player in the industry.”
On the issue of the antitrust suit that AMD is pursuing against Intel, when asked how AMD can justify continuing the suit given their success with 64-bit chips and market share, Richard had some scathing words that put AMD’s position on the matter across clearly. “It’s a bit like asking [Intel], ‘You’ve been a criminal all your life but for the last three years you have behaved properly. Does that make you less of a criminal?'”
“We still see monopolistic behaviour taking place every day. In some cases it might be more subdued, but that is not to say it has completely changed.”
In the interview Richard went into more detail on each of the above subjects, as well as touching on IBM’s uptake of Opteron chips, AMD’s plans for the future (and why they’re not telling anybody about them), x86 SMPs becoming a bigger part of the server chip market; and a rather amusing run-around of “No comment” about whether or not Google is a big AMD customer.