Better late than never

AMD has not minced its words in the long-running multi core technology battle with Intel, and Henri Richard, executive vice president and chief sales and marketing officer at AMD, has been more vocal than most. Sherief Younis drops by his hotel suite and finds the AMD talisman in pragmatic mood.

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By  Sherief Younis Published  April 1, 2007

Arabian Computer News: What brings you to the region?

Henri Richard: This is the most exciting place in the world especially in our industry. We've just appointed a new vice president for the region, Gautam Srivastava, so as part of helping him settle, it's also an opportunity to meet our partners here. It was easy for me to come here to Dubai and I felt it was important to show my support.

ACN: Your rivalry with Intel is well documented and they have a strong presence here in the region. What is your strategy?

Richard: The region is interesting for us because it's our lowest market share worldwide. It's also interesting because we started here relatively late but now it's an important part of our growth strategy and we're doubling down in terms of resources. We operate out of Dubai for the MENA region, and if you look at the potential of IT in the region it's quite exciting.

I know that everybody likes to pit us against Intel but I like to believe there is enough room in the region for two players; I hope Intel's strategy is to focus on growing the market and not simply to beat us up. I personally think there is a place for Intel in this industry, but we're more focused on serving our customers.

ACN: AMD established itself in the region quite late. Why was that and why enter the Middle East market at this point?

Richard: We had limited resources when I started at AMD five years ago. The most important market for us to penetrate at that time was China, and we started from a position where we had no partnerships with any of the local manufacturers. We've traditionally been strong in Latin America but we had a lot of work to do in Russia and the Middle East as well. It came down to prioritising the size of the markets and now we think it's time for us to invest here.

ACN: What are the core issues are AMD is looking to address entering the Middle East market?

Richard: There's been a lot of discussion in the industry recently in relation to benchmarking. Our competition is really using unethical behaviour to present the performance features of their products that don't represent reality: using older benchmarks, comparing our old technology to their new technology. But I'll go beyond the polemic of trying to manipulate the reality - I'd like to focus on a question that's more fundamental. It's bizarre to think an industry as large and complex, with the level of maturity ours has, doesn't have standard metrics where by users can understand in laymen's terms exactly what they're buying. The fact that after so many years we don't have miles per gallon or kilowatt per hour - it's kind of crazy.

We're going to drive towards more transparency because we think people should win on the merit of their products - the more we inform the end user the better it is for the industry. There's really a need for the industry to focus on that.

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