Are more layoffs in the cards for AMD?

A year on from AMD’s last round of mass layoffs, the rumor mill suggests AMD’s staff could face further downsizing. News comes from the folks at VR-Zone, who quote “sources close to heart [sic] of the matter” as saying AMD’s work force could soon shrink from around 11,000 to somewhere below 10,000—at least a 9% cut. (VR-Zone’s headline only talks of a 5% reduction, though, oddly enough.)

VR-Zone adds that, according to its sources, “[AMD] has too many VPs and directors who slow things down. New hires cannot fulfill their targets due to amount of bureaucracy.” Rumor has it the company is “too big for the amount of projects at hand,” as well. And AMD’s third-quarter sales purportedly fell short of expectations, which could add fuel to the fire.

There’s no official word on any of that yet, of course. Last we heard, AMD expected a revenue decline of “1 percent, plus or minus 3 percent” for the third quarter. We won’t find out the company’s actual Q3 earnings for another couple of weeks, but the company hasn’t announced a revised forecast or revenue warning so far, which may be a good sign. Last time AMD missed third-quarter guidance—a year ago—we heard about it on September 29.

AMD’s last major round of layoffs, which began in November 2011, saw the company shed 10% of its work force, or roughly 1,400 souls. AMD’s public relations and marketing departments were among the hardest hit, with almost all of the company’s PR staff getting laid off.

Comments closed
    • Tristan
    • 7 years ago

    For CPU design, only 1000 engineers are necessary. With sales, programmers (drivers, tools), marketing and others, only some 5000 is enough.

      • Sam125
      • 7 years ago

      So keeping about 10,000 employees is fairly lean for a large corporation like AMD considering that large companies are very inefficient when it comes to utilizing their manpower efficiently.

    • Bensam123
    • 7 years ago

    Lets hope the top end isn’t able to keep all their jobs while the bottom end continually gets slashed. They most definitely are starting to make it sound like they have too many managers and not enough actual employees. If the stem is too weak to support the flower, the whole thing ends up on the ground.

    • bcronce
    • 7 years ago

    Just a year ago they announced hiring 1,000 Linux programmers……

    • ronch
    • 7 years ago

    I think AMD is playing Last Man Standing. Winner gets a golden parachute.

    • Arclight
    • 7 years ago

    from 11000 to 10000? So in other words AMD’s staff is about to get almost decimated.

      • Farting Bob
      • 7 years ago

      Not quite. Decimating their staff of 11,000 would leave 9,900 left technically, not 10,000.

        • jihadjoe
        • 7 years ago

        well, he did say “almost”.

          • HR cubemate
          • 7 years ago

          So… Will it be 5-10% or 20-30%…? Find out later this month…

          *sigh*

          🙁

    • sschaem
    • 7 years ago

    I would actually be surprised if AMD didn’t do round 2 of its restructuring.
    Its almost impossible to do this level of change in 1 swoop.

    Sad thing is 90% of AMD downfall is on Dirk Meyer shoulder. Still cant believe they gave him a 12 million “Thank you, please go now, you are killing us!” for the massive destruction he did.

      • anotherengineer
      • 7 years ago

      So you are saying Hector was only 10% then?

        • Sahrin
        • 7 years ago

        I was going to say, was that before or after Hector released a huge TLB-bug and bought ATI for more than AMD is worth.

          • sschaem
          • 7 years ago

          TLB was Dirk Meyer signature. He was directly in charge of this and let it happen.

          CEO do strategic decision, like , stay or not into the mobile chip business.
          They dont review test plan for server chips as architects and manager. (Dirk job at the time)

          For ATI, it was Dirk that ‘sold’ (gave away) key divisions reducing even further ATI value.
          And in the long run put AMD 2 to 3 year behind in this market.

          Hector was a clown, but the massive damage we have now was self inflected by Dirk as a director & CEO. I’m sure he his enjoying the sweet life while people at AMD are still loosing their jobs over what he did.

            • Sahrin
            • 7 years ago

            So Hector gets to blame his subordinates, but the buck stops with Dirk?

            >For ATI, it was Dirk that ‘sold’ (gave away) key divisions reducing even further ATI value.

            That’s the first time I’ve ever heard of someone refer to the Imageon business as the valuable part of ATI.

            >And in the long run put AMD 2 to 3 year behind in this market.

            Behind who? nVidia didn’t even enter the ARM market until after this deal was done.

            The problem is that AMD has never had a technically competent CEO. Jerry Sanders was a salesman – a masterful one at that, but just a salesman. Intel has always been led by engineers, and it’s no surprise that they spend more in R&D per year than AMD’s annual revenue.

            • Game_boy
            • 7 years ago

            All that smartphone Adreno revenue could have been AMD’s. Qualcomm even does Fusion better than they do – their own CPU+GPU except the expensive design bit is done by ARM.

            • cal_guy
            • 7 years ago

            Qualcomm primarily uses their own designs (Scorpion and Krait) for their SOC and not a licensed design from ARM.

            • Game_boy
            • 7 years ago

            They made those from scratch? I thought it was a pipeline extension to the supplied ARM core.

            • Sahrin
            • 7 years ago

            Adreno != Imageon.

            • destroy.all.monsters
            • 7 years ago

            According to wikipedia it is.

            lol downvoted for pointing out something factual.

            • clone
            • 7 years ago

            I’m not sure wikipedia is guaranteed to be providing facts on all things to everyone.

            • destroy.all.monsters
            • 7 years ago

            In some cases wikipedia is sketchy however In this particular case they are on the money. Imageon/Adreno was a BitBoys design they were bought by ATI then after the sale to Qualcomm became Qualcomm Finland. Much if not all of the original BitBoys team is now in a company named Siru who don’t seem to have any products out yet.

            I read about the whole thing after I saw it listed on wikipedia. BitBoys were an interesting company.

            • sschaem
            • 7 years ago

            Was it Hector that slash the QE budget and caused this problem ?
            No it was Dirk that didn’t put in place the right QE.
            Dirk had the budget, he was just incompetent at making sure he could delivered a working product.
            But ok, blame Hecor for not firing Dirk when this happened. This stigma is still hanging over AMD.
            And his Baby BD sealed the deal for AMD

            ATI mobile division was growing and was already profitable before the smartphone/tablet boom, and I guess Qualcomm didn’t do to bad with it…. qualcomm also got a decent patent portfolio from the deal.
            ATI mobile division also had relationship with the biggest players in the mobile industry at the time, from motorola to sony. From what I heard the division was stellar, they just needed the market to openup to grow revenue.
            and it did, a few month after dirk ‘gave’ the division to Qualcomm.

            Dirk was an engineers, and he was an atrocious CEO, the worse AMD ever had.
            CEO need to understand the company and most importantly ‘predict’ the future and demand.
            Not be nose deep in a server architecture (BD) and ignore the rest of the world.

            • destroy.all.monsters
            • 7 years ago

            Did he kick your dog? Eat your children? Seriously wtf is wrong with you?

            Dirk did what he could at a bad time. I didn’t work there and neither did you so let’s cut the crap. Everyone gets dealt the hand they got from the last guy. I can’t believe you’re going to bat for a guy (Ruiz) that ATIC couldn’t get rid of fast enough and who looks to have been doing insider trading on top of everything else.

            Handsets were not the be-all, end-all that the pundits are claiming they are now – and their core business is and was x86 and gpus. At the time his choices were lauded as practical and sent share prices up. It was only during Meyer’s tenure that AMD had gotten into the black in the last five years (if memory serves). All this after the fact armchair quarterbacking is ridiculous. Besides – he’s gone now and has been for over a year. The question is whether Read has a game plan or not – not whether he can lay people off.

            Your ardor is better placed elsewhere.

            • jihadjoe
            • 7 years ago

            Dirk is also responsible for AMD’s glory days.

            He brought over key technologies, and people from DEC, including Jim Keller. EV6 bus was way ahead of Intel’s SDR FSB, and by partnering with Motorolla he even brought the manufacturing side up to par, if not ahead of Intel at the time. (IIRC, AMD was first with copper interconnects).

            AMD would not have even been in a position to fail if not for Dirk’s previous work bringing them to the top.

            • sschaem
            • 7 years ago

            Nope I’m just pointing out how Dirk got a 12 million “please go away” bonus and that AMD situation could have been better with a real CEO..

            Selling startegic assets for near nothing is public info, no need to be an insider.
            He sold profitable business, and took a gamble that didn’t pay off. TLB bug, his signature.
            BD desktop release, his signature. Getting out of the Mobile licensing market, his decision, etc…
            All public info.

            I’m commenting on a topic that poses a question that I didn’t started, stating
            a) I do expect AMD to have another round of layoff 5 to 10%
            b) Dirk role cant be ignored.

            BTW, I dont regard R. Read much higher as CEO material, and sheifer was showing all the quality you actually dont want in a CEO.

            AMD is on the brink of becoming irrelevent in the tech business, they loose more ground and the result will be more key people lose, less R&D. While nvidia thrive and finally in a year or two dominate.

            Result ? Another VIA in the making.

            • destroy.all.monsters
            • 7 years ago

            Every executive – no matter how good or terrible gets a golden parachute these days that’s nothing new.

            Focusing on core businesses got AMD a bump in the markets. Calling them strategic assets now is hindsight – most were in agreement at the time that divesting was a good idea (as was the previous divesting of Spansion) and someone had to do something to stanch the bleeding (which started before Meyer became CEO) in order to keep the company from free falling. I’m sure Meyer was also aware that if they had to get back into that market it wouldn’t be that difficult to return. The thing is now that no one other than Qualcomm is doing all that well in handsets anyway so I have to question your call on this. Unless I misunderstood the press release TI is getting out of the handset chip business (the OMAP line) in part because the margins are becoming too thin. The competition is too great. Presuming AMD was going to have the luck and acumen that Qualcomm has had requires an immense leap in faith that borders on the completely fantastic. It wasn’t
            something they were going to continue to sink a lot of R+D cash into regardless.

            You can’t seriously be grieving over the loss of the Xileon set top box chip market.

            Saying that a bug is “his signature” comes across as non-sensical. I’m sure he wanted all the fab and design problems as he’s busy trying to steady his ship. These things are often unavoidable it’s just that with such a small R+D budget compared to intel (and nVidia likely at this point).

            Regardless I’m far more concerned about the future than the past. If you want to polish Ruiz’s resume I guess that’s fine but it’s a waste of time and irrationally places all the problems of the company on one man.

            • clone
            • 7 years ago

            Hector was equally guilty, his past was on the engineering side of things, I met/talked to Hector in person during the issues AMD was having with improperly mounted heatsinks on their cpu’s, nice guy in as far as the discussion went.

            remember it was Gerry Sanders before Hector btw…. I’m not sure he was a shining star either, Rory may be that star that AMD has lacked.

            p.s. the ATI purchase was good for AMD….. .the only reason they paid so much was because of the economy at the time, unfortunate it tanked soon after but then again AMD wouldn’t have had the access to credit to buy ATI after the crash leaving them with no time and no future prospects whatsoever.

            they bought ATI for around 5.4 billion…. armchair quarterbacks have condemned this move ignoring the value of the IP portfolio alone which is likely 4 billion+ given Nortel’s sold for $3.5 billion…. so did they really spend too much given the only reason they are alive today is because of the asset value of the ATI purchase and given their only profits are coming from the ATI divisions in the company?

            • sschaem
            • 7 years ago

            Today AMD + ATI + Seamicro is not even valued at 2.5 billion.
            To put thing in perspective nvidia got more cash then AMD is worth.

            This is the root of the problem, while AMD try to survive and cut corners,
            the competition advances rolling in money.

            And I know where to point the finger on that one 🙂

            • destroy.all.monsters
            • 7 years ago

            Valuation is based on the market – and the market has never been hot on AMD. It’s a little more complex than you’re making it look.

            For all your Meyer-bashing the board had to approve all the measures he took. These things are never a one man show.

            • mikato
            • 7 years ago

            Sounds like a bargain to me.

        • flip-mode
        • 7 years ago

        Different time periods, sir.

      • ronch
      • 7 years ago

      Why put all the blame on Dirk? He may not have been the best AMD CEO (Jerry gets that honor), but he’s a damn fine engineer. If it weren’t for Dirk, we wouldn’t have had the original Athlon processor which put AMD solidly on the map. Granted, he may have been directly responsible for Bulldozer but I don’t think he’s the only one who deserves to get whacked for it.

        • sschaem
        • 7 years ago

        The issue are : Dirk introducing the TLB bug when in was in charge of that project. This was a huge blow to AMD.
        Dirk in charge of BD, one of the worse thing that ever happened to AMD.
        Dirk giving away AMD mobile business to Qualcomm right before the mobile boom.
        Dirk divesting for peanuts profitable division of ATI.
        Dirk letting the laptop/desktop market sit while he mainly focused on servers. A market he personaly lost, and put AMD desktop and laptop business in jeopardy.
        etc…
        This man is a destructor, he was fired was good reasons.

          • ronch
          • 7 years ago

          He brought AMD up. He brought AMD down. I guess he just went full circle.

    • alienstorexxx
    • 7 years ago

    it’s good to see they are cutting off burocracy in pro of more optimized work.

      • chµck
      • 7 years ago

      [url<]http://huyentruongmba.blogspot.com/2010/10/are-too-many-mbas-destroying-market.html[/url<]

    • Game_boy
    • 7 years ago

    If they do have all 3 consoles’ GPUs and 2 consoles’ CPUs as rumoured that should help their products be attractive to enthusiasts in 1-2 years’ time as game companies will design for AMD cores.

      • khands
      • 7 years ago

      Pretty sure IBM’s going to have all the CPUs again this time.

        • Sam125
        • 7 years ago

        Considering how bad IBM screwed over Sony, I’d be pretty surprised if the PS4 had anything IBM powering its CPU.

          • evilpaul
          • 7 years ago

          While true with the Cell/Xenon thing, I think it’s in Sony’s interest to maintain backwards compatibility this time around. The PS3 isn’t going to be emulateable in the forseeable future, and the PSN Store is big money for them.

            • kalelovil
            • 7 years ago

            Thus the purchase of Gaikai.

            • Sam125
            • 7 years ago

            It depends on what Sony decides to do. If they stick with the Cell processor then backward compatibility won’t be a problem. If Sony goes with a commodity x86 CPU like AMD, then backward compatibility probably won’t happen.

      • Silus
      • 7 years ago

      So I guess that at that point (assuming for a moment that it will come true) it will be ok for developers to prioritize one type of hardware and shaft all the others right ? Ah double standards! It’s bad, but only until your favorite company gets some from it 🙂
      Your double standards aside, that’s not how it works, otherwise all Xbox 360 games (the typical main SKU) would run great on Radeons from a few years ago, that shared the same architecture and they really didn’t…at least not any better than GeForces.

      You also get a very strange idea that getting console wins is great. It certainly isn’t from a financial PoV, since the margins are quite thin.

        • eofpi
        • 7 years ago

        Very thin margins are still not losses.

        Considering how well Bulldozer and Global’s 32nm process have worked, AMD can’t afford to turn its nose up at anything that brings in profits.

          • MadManOriginal
          • 7 years ago

          Thin margins are fine – the key is to maximize margin/fab capacity. So if the capacity is there and would otherwise go toward something equal or lower in margin, or to nothing at all, then low margins are fine. If a semi fab company (or fabless company) is supply constrained then they need to decide the most profitable way to use that capacity.

        • Sahrin
        • 7 years ago

        >You also get a very strange idea that getting console wins is great. It certainly isn’t from a financial PoV, since the margins are quite thin.

        There are no “margins” on AMD’s console designs; they are licensed IP. nVidia, in the past, sold chips to MS for the original Xbox – on the 360 and all other consoles, the console maker owns the processor designs so they can get the full benefit of process improvements (and to minimize costs). They pay a lot of money up-front to get the design, but none on an ongoing basis. AMD did a one-time design job for MS/Sony/Nintendo. It’s not at all clear how that revenue will be realized, but the idea of a ‘margin’ is irrelevant on an ongoing basis because the transaction already occurred (ie AMD has already delivered the product and on a cash basis they have already been paid).

      • Sahrin
      • 7 years ago

      The entire DX10 spec was written around the R520. Didn’t help AMD much.

      The same was true for D3D9 and the R300.

    • ronch
    • 7 years ago

    There are many much-larger companies out there that execute very well despite more folks running the show. In AMD’s case, however, it looks like those running the show are a bunch of fat-bellied slackers. I think they need to trim where they need to trim from the top all the way to the bottom. Lemme see, they gotta fire the folks who maintain AMD’s website, they gotta fire those guys who sound like they have no business working for the world’s No. 2 x86 chipmaker in the videos they post on Youtube, they gotta fire whoever approved the Bulldozer design (or maybe he’s already fired), they gotta fire the guy who said BD has 2B transistors (learn to count, dude), and they gotta fire the guy who supplied a picture of a bulldozer for the Steamroller article here at TR.

      • MadManOriginal
      • 7 years ago

      They gotta get rid of the directors and other senior management who are raping any shareholder value left in the company with their $0 stock options.

      • Farting Bob
      • 7 years ago

      Also, fire the janitor. The toilets could be cleaner.

    • moose17145
    • 7 years ago

    I really hope that AMD is able to fix it’s issues soon… As much as everyone likes to hate on them, we need them to keep prices competitive, otherwise Intel will end up just going back to doing what they were doing before the A64 and we will be paying out the nose for chips that aren’t nearly as good / fast as they should be.

      • ronch
      • 7 years ago

      I think this has been said a million times.

        • moose17145
        • 7 years ago

        I know… but their continued financial and workforce issues just seem to keep getting worse and worse and worse… I’m legitimately getting worried. A year or two ago my attitude was “yea yea AMD is having some hard times… they will pull out of it, they always do somehow…” but this one is really starting to feel like maybe they won’t / can’t. If they can’t fix their issues soon that will REALLY suck because we would effectively lose both AMD and ATI. At least back before AMD bought ATI if AMD were to fail then it would only have affected the CPU market… Honestly I am not sure who would be worse for gouging their customers if AMD were to go under… Intel or NVidia… I’m thinking NVidia probably..

          • BIF
          • 7 years ago

          [quote<]...at least back before AMD bought ATI if AMD were to fail then it would only have affected the CPU market... Honestly I am not sure who would be worse for gouging their customers if AMD were to go under... Intel or NVidia... I'm thinking NVidia probably.. [/quote<] You've correctly gotten to the nut of this: On a long-term basis, most mergers are bad. Stockholders should punsish companies who merge too much. Instead, stockholders often get wishy-washy and even let themselves become convinced that "this one time it will be okay". And then it's not.

            • Sahrin
            • 7 years ago

            >On a long-term basis, most mergers are bad.

            This. A trillion times this.

            HP buys Compaq. Market Cap HP + Market Cap Compaq = 2(Market Cap Merged HPQ after 3 years).

            Exxon buys Mobil, other string of acquisitions. Oil prices rise by 10x in a decade.

            The only way a merger works is if the customer pays a huge premium. Otherwise you just doubled the size of a company that by necessity is going to have higher overhead – fewer people managing more employees means more ‘management’ work is done, the more manangement done as a ratio of productivity the lower the profitability will be. So either prices go up or CEO’s get fired.

            No rational person can say that a merger is a good thing.

        • destroy.all.monsters
        • 7 years ago

        It doesn’t make it any less true.

      • sschaem
      • 7 years ago

      Already happening. 6 core CPU start at $560 and haven’t gone down 1 cents in the past year.

      I will see what happen to piledriver on desktop, if they fixed the memory controller I might consider.
      If not I will just wait another year to see what happen to LGA2011 prices then.

      • not@home
      • 7 years ago

      already happening. Intel is concentrating on lowering power and not on performance. They are increasing performance, but not at the rate they were previously.

        • sschaem
        • 7 years ago

        Didn’t they hinted at a 12 core 3.2ghz load Ivy Bridge ?

        Intel is maxing out their 22nm process (#1 in the world) .. what else can they do, their IPC, cache, etc. etc.. is already state of that art…

        The issue is more around the price. If you want a generic desktop CPU , Intel still got AMD as a competitor. So price are affordable.
        But jump outside of AMD market (like the LGA2011 platform) and prices are ridiculous.

      • willyolio
      • 7 years ago

      not just that, but nvidia too. there’s really no other competition for high-end graphics at the moment.

      if AMD drops out, people get screwed on both fronts. Intel might still be kept in check if more and more people move to tablet/phone computing and ARM-based systems start grabbing a more significant chunk of the computing space.

    • TurtlePerson2
    • 7 years ago

    I’d be curious to know what percentage of AMD’s employees do engineering work. It has always seemed to me that chip companies have way too many people doing things that aren’t making computer chips.

      • ronch
      • 7 years ago

      Like designing boxes for the chips. AMD must have a thousand slackers working on the next AMD PIB box as we speak, and another thousand writing blogs.

      • TaBoVilla
      • 7 years ago

      you would be amazed to learn how many actual engineers most “technology” companies hold nowadays.. . =(

      • TheEmrys
      • 7 years ago

      3. The rest are all “decision makers.”

        • NeelyCam
        • 7 years ago

        G*d forbid engineers should make any decisions themselves..

    • tfp
    • 7 years ago

    Yes

    [edit]First Post[/edit]

      • tfp
      • 7 years ago

      What is answering the question in the headline with one word instead of multiple paragraphs a crime? With a title like that what do you expect the first line to be “No AMD is hiring in the following departments submit your applications here…”

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