AMD Executives Keep the Faith
The VAR Guy ran into Kevin Knox, VP of AMD’s Worldwide Commercial Business, Monday morning at JetBlue’s JFK terminal. It had been about a year since he’d seen Knox, who frequently commutes between a New York home and AMD’s offices in Texas and California. Although AMD has been in a financial free fall, Knox and several other AMD executives seem to be keeping the faith.
Sure, financial analysts are worried about AMD’s debt load. Shares in the chip company closed April 2 at $12.83–within pennies of a 52-week low. Alas, the company’s 52-week high of $35.75 seems like it occurred decades ago. Without a doubt, fierce competition from Intel has bloodied AMD in recent months.
But then there’s Knox. For a hazy Monday morning in New York, he seemed primed for the week ahead. Although Knox didn’t comment directly about AMD’s performance, his body language remained imposing during a quick hello. That’s good news, because Knox is one of the key players who could make-or-break AMD’s commercial server initiatives in the months ahead.
When AMD sued Intel in mid-2005, it was Knox who took the stage at an invitation-only CIO Summit in Pebble Beach, explaining the lawsuit to technology executives from across the country. He told CIOs to welcome a competitive marketplace that would include ongoing innovations from AMD.
Knox isn’t alone in his long-term view. During a meeting with The VAR Guy in mid-February, Margaret Lewis, director of commercial ISV marketing at AMD, focused on long-term strategy rather than short-term “feature” comparisons against Intel. Lewis noted that AMD is working with VMware, XenSource, Novell, Microsoft, Red Hat, Sun and other major ISVs on virtualization technology.
Lewis also sees third-party vendors designing open â€œplug insâ€? to AMDâ€™s hardware designs. Similar to how applications are written for operating systems, this plug-in approach would allow independent hardware vendors (IHVs) to add value to AMDâ€™s own designs.
Ultimately, AMD’s success will depend on its ability to stay focused amid financial distractions. Fortunately, leaders like Knox and Lewis will are keeping the faith.