AMD talks market share, B3 revision, 45nm

In the aftermath of its financial results announcement yesterday afternoon, AMD had a conference call where it discussed its outlook and answered questions from analysts and reporters. Company executives including CEO Hector Ruiz, President and COO Dirk Meyer, and Executive VP and CFO Bob Rivet largely rehashed financial details, but they also let slip a few tidbits of new information.

To start with, the company believes it gained processor market share in the fourth quarter of last year, largely due to the 11% revenue growth it witnessed in its Computing Solutions business. AMD expects to ship twice as many quad-core processors in Q1 2008 as it did in Q4 2007, which should mean somewhere around 800,000 chips in total. The Computing Solutions business was profitable in Q4, as well, despite the TLB erratum shenanigans.

Speaking of the TLB issue, AMD also had an update to give regarding the B3 revision of its quad-core chips, which will fix the erratum. According to Dirk Meyer, B3 silicon is out of the factory and is being "put through the paces" internally. AMD plans to provide customers with engineering samples within two to three weeks and to follow with production samples later this quarter. However, AMD doesn't expect availability until very late in Q1, with the bulk of B3 chips to come in Q2.

Moving on to its 45nm process technology, AMD said silicon is out for its first quad-core 45nm product and that it is pleased with current progress. However, Ruiz and Meyer had conflicting statements regarding the 45nm schedule. Ruiz stated that he was looking forward to a 45nm ramp in the second half of 2008, but Meyer later said AMD was still on track to start ramping in the first half and shipping 45nm chips for revenue in the second half. Ruiz did also state that AMD hadn't changed its plans since its 2007 Financial Analyst Day presentation last month, though, so his first statement probably ought to be taken with a pinch of salt.

Last, but not least, Ruiz responded to a question about AMD's expected "asset-light" strategy by saying the strategy was "very important" and that AMD had "made progress on it." He had no details to provide, but said the company will be "delighted" to announce specifics as soon as it can. Financially, Ruiz said AMD is targeting a return to profitability in the second half of 2008, beginning with the third quarter.

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