AMD aims for the enterprise

Intel’s nemesis says it wants a larger slice of the pie in this traditionally Pentium III-dominated customer space.

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By  Colin Browne Published  February 13, 2001

AMD says it is time to tackle Intel in the enterprise space, putting its high-end Athlon processors up against the Pentium III Xeon and Pentium 4 chips of its giant rival.

The change in tactic from this traditionally consumer-focused processor manufacturer comes at a time when AMD has reached what it calls near-saturation of its consumer market potential.

“In the US and Europe, we nearly a 40% market share for the desktop in the consumer market, so how much more can we increase there?” Middle East sales manager for AMD Raz Sobhaini told recently.

“Our products are increasing in their capabilities; week by week we are progressing along the lines of higher performance. So why should we spend more time and effort in trying to increase the marketshare in the consumer region from 30-40%, whatever it is just now, to 60%? It would take a fantastic amount of effort and cause a head-on clash with Intel to do that,” he said.

That head-on clash should be in the enterprise space, if it is to happen, AMD believes.

“More and more government department are acepting us now. More and more educational departments and insurance companies and banks are accepting us now. More and more we are getting into the scientific market—a few weeks back, the University of Delaware in the US bought a cluster made of 128 Athlons for half a million dollars, and saved about half a million dollars by doing it,” said Sobhaini.

“So this is where we want to go. Our marketshare is very low there just now—it is even less than 5% in those areas. And there, from 5% to increase to 15% or 20% would take us less marketing money by just applying our efforts correctly, the same as we did in the case of the consumer business,” he said.

Sobhaini said that AMD has also got out of the speed-war which AMD and Intel fought in 2000. “We will release a 1.3 GHz processor in Q2, and a 1.4 GHZ one sometime at the end of Q2, or the beginning of Q3, something like that. But we are not trying to bring out a 1.5GHz chip within the next one month to compete against Intel. What we are saying is: you will get performance more for each dollar that you invest, we guarantee you that,” he said.

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