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AMD exec "would never buy" AMD

AMD exec "would never buy" AMD

Ex-AMD employee Henri Richard's 2004 e-mail - from when he was a vice president - will prove embarrassing for the company.

Despite a massive settlement by Intel after accusations of anti-competitive behaviour against its smaller rival AMD, the US Federal Trade Commission is still chasing the company - but Intel has revealed an interesting fact from the era in question as part of a filing in its defence.

As reported over on Tom's Hardware, the filing quotes the executive vice president of the day, Henri Richard - who has since left the company - who stated in an internal AMD communication that "if you look at it with an objective set of eyes, you would never buy AMD [processors]."

In the internal e-mail, Richard goes on to opine that "I would never buy AMD for a personal system, if I wasn't working [for the company]."

While the comments don't get Intel off the hook - the accusations levied against it regarding "threats and rewards aimed at the world’s largest computer manufacturers, including Dell, Hewlett-Packard, and IBM, to coerce them not to buy rival computer CPU chips" still stand, and the FTC is going to want answers regarding such behaviour - they must certainly prove awkward for AMD. Further, current Intel staffer Chuck Mulloy has stated that this is merely the tip of an increasingly large iceberg of embarrassment, claiming that Richards' e-mail - which Intel received as part of the discovery process during the trial - was simply the start, and that "more and more [of] this kind of information will be available in the case."

So far, AMD has not commented on the filing by Intel - nor on the comments made by Henri Richard back in 2004.

Are you amazed that a high-ranking executive at the company could be so disparaging about his own products, or is this proof that Intel wasn't AMD's biggest problem back then? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

36 Comments

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Digi 15th January 2010, 10:13 Quote
Seems to me that maybe he was saying it in the sense that; ''our products are not competitive enough right now, we need to do something about it'' and not so much bashing his own company. Regardless, how can Intel use this as proof they weren't a big competitor at that point? They were pretty much the only and certainly the next biggest manufacturer of desktop CPU's and quoting mails from inside AMD is beside the point. Down with the Intel scum!
thehippoz 15th January 2010, 10:19 Quote
yeah he was just being honest..
Boogle 15th January 2010, 10:21 Quote
Looks taken out of context to me. What he was prolly saying is that objectively, to joe public AMD isn't attractive while Intel is. Intel has a load of marketing behind it, ans is the 'de facto standard' while AMD had very little marketing, wasn't the de facto standard, which made joe public nervous. It's not that different from a CEO saying that his own web site sucks, and it needs an overhaul.

Of course due to the halo-effect of the Athlon64 AMDs have started to appear in OEM PCs far more often. However, if they didn't so utterly trounce the Pentium4, AMD would be where they were when the Athlon64 was first around - in one or two PCs at PC World at most. Harsh, but it's the way the market goes - brand name often matters more than the product itself.
shanky887614 15th January 2010, 10:28 Quote
i read this a few hours ago on tomshardware i dint realise that custompc was slow with news?
mi1ez 15th January 2010, 10:34 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by shanky887614
i read this a few hours ago on tomshardware i dint realise that custompc was slow with news?

Normally vice-versa!
proxess 15th January 2010, 10:37 Quote
It would be honest if it were today, but in 2004, AMD was ahead of the game.
Kúsař 15th January 2010, 10:49 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Boogle
Looks taken out of context to me. What he was prolly saying is that objectively, to joe public AMD isn't attractive while Intel is. Intel has a load of marketing behind it, ans is the 'de facto standard' while AMD had very little marketing, wasn't the de facto standard, which made joe public nervous. It's not that different from a CEO saying that his own web site sucks, and it needs an overhaul.

Either this or that guy didn't know anything about CPUs. Who'd choose P4 over A64?
Pappy_Lazaru 15th January 2010, 11:20 Quote
Taken out of context or not...woooops!
l3v1ck 15th January 2010, 11:41 Quote
???
2004 is exactly the time people should have bought AMD CPU's. The Athlon 64's were vastly superior to the Netburst based Pentium 4's.
tejas 15th January 2010, 11:42 Quote
Couldn't agree more with Henri Richard. Used Phenom II and it was dog poo next to my Core i7 lynnfield that replaced it. Fact of life is that Intel is the performance leader.
l3v1ck 15th January 2010, 11:44 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by tejas
Couldn't agree more with Henri Richard. Used Phenom II and it was dog poo next to my Core i7 lynnfield that replaced it. Fact of life is that Intel is the performance leader.
Yeah, but we're talking about what he said in 2004.
V3ctor 15th January 2010, 12:12 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by l3v1ck
Quote:
Originally Posted by tejas
Couldn't agree more with Henri Richard. Used Phenom II and it was dog poo next to my Core i7 lynnfield that replaced it. Fact of life is that Intel is the performance leader.
Yeah, but we're talking about what he said in 2004.

But it still applies today :D
Greentrident 15th January 2010, 12:15 Quote
It's a bit unfortunate that an employee of a company who should be attempting to look objectively at that companies position can't do so without finding it used against them 6 years later!
Skiddywinks 15th January 2010, 12:33 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by V3ctor
Quote:
Originally Posted by l3v1ck
Quote:
Originally Posted by tejas
Couldn't agree more with Henri Richard. Used Phenom II and it was dog poo next to my Core i7 lynnfield that replaced it. Fact of life is that Intel is the performance leader.
Yeah, but we're talking about what he said in 2004.

But it still applies today :D

It doesn't still apply today, it only applies today (and rather recently). It has literally just been said several times that back then AMD was the champ.

Gotta agree with you Greentrident. Besides, no one actually knows what metric Richard is basing this objective assessment on. He could in fact be pointing out the fact that looking from an objective viewpoint, it would seem Intel is more popular and a better choice, which is exactly what the case is about since the only reason they were more popular was the dirty tactics Intel used, when they clearly were not the better choice. The quote makes no sense otherwise.

Personally, I would like to see the full quote in context before I start making assumptions.
V3ctor 15th January 2010, 12:44 Quote
U are right Skiddywinks, I had an AMD Opteron 170 at that time... and it rocked, now I'm waiting on Bulldozer (AMD) or Sandybridge (Intel)...

I really like the Bulldozer idea...

http://images.anandtech.com/reviews/cpu/amd/Bulldozer/CoreUpdate/bulldozer.jpg
tad2008 15th January 2010, 13:35 Quote
What this shows is that the then Vice President clearly had his own agenda and had no real interest in the company and the products themselves. If he had, then being in such a high position within the company would have given him ample opportunity to direct and guide AMD to improve, instead he took the easy option and put down the company and products and then left. It is people like this working for companies all around the world from small businesses to international corporations that bring a company down and thwart genuine progress.

It takes vision, hard work, determination and above all, belief in the company and product. If employees, no matter their station do not exhibit this, then they are simply dross and holding the company back.
Xen0phobiak 15th January 2010, 14:02 Quote
<3 the blind AMD fanboyism in this thread.

AMD moved ahead with the T-Bird 1400, some of the later XP cores, and the A64 but didn't push hard enough to move beyond cheap machines and a fanboy niche. Aside from that, Intel have had the better products, and my cash.
liratheal 15th January 2010, 14:07 Quote
Someone made an oopsie!

Regardless of whether the chips were competitive or not - The fact that one of the execs was openly admitting that they didn't think they were making competitive products is hardly going to make AMDs case any easier to argue.
s3v3n 15th January 2010, 14:10 Quote
I remember reading this and what he was talking about was platforms and brand penetration. Think Centrino. On both consumer and especially corporate side, Intel had a MUCH stronger platform than AMD. As for brand value, AMD had little to none in 2004. Even now it's little known.
knutjb 15th January 2010, 14:42 Quote
Maybe it shows why Richards is gone. If I were a shareholder I would want Richard's head on the block for that reckless behavior. His job was to make a competitive product. Regardless of what he said, Intel still strong armed those companies to not use AMD. That is a crime not a performance issue.

The other and much bigger part is that AMD's money maker was the Opteron and in the sever market that was a huge deal at that time and was a serious thorn in Intel's side. The Intel scam hurt Dell significantly in the server market and forced Michael Dell back into the business.
Molajoku 15th January 2010, 14:50 Quote
Probablt because back then AMD were seen as hardcore gaming CPUs.
You wouldn't buy an 8ltr V12 for going to the shops, same as you wouldn't then have brought an AMD CPU for poking at the calculator, word and paint.
Xir 15th January 2010, 15:14 Quote
Beeing an executive he'd probably be looking at laptops...and they were, then, before then, and alas still are, inferior over centrino / core / core2.
On the desktop market AMD has been at least competitive (if not leading) from the first aluminum Athlon till Athlon64. Including 2004.
After that (till now) they've lost obviously, core / core2 and the i's were / are mostly better value for money.
eddtox 15th January 2010, 16:29 Quote
I call smokescreen!
TWeaK 15th January 2010, 16:46 Quote
At the end of the day, all this is moot. AMD have dropped their suit, and the only case left is between Intel and the US Federal Trade Commission. What employees of AMD said at the time is neither here nor there, unless it directly relates to illegal practices used by Intel. I doubt the USFTC are even giving this news a second glance.

Maybe there's another agenda behind Intel releasing this information. Intel has just released Core i3 and appear to be gaining a foothold in the budget end of the CPU market again, where AMD has been concentrating recently. This could be part of a two-pronged attack to hurt AMD's reputation while they bring in a competing product.
Farfalho 15th January 2010, 18:56 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xen0phobiak
<3 the blind AMD fanboyism in this thread.

AMD moved ahead with the T-Bird 1400, some of the later XP cores, and the A64 but didn't push hard enough to move beyond cheap machines and a fanboy niche. Aside from that, Intel have had the better products, and my cash.

<3 the irony of the blind Intel fanboy in this thread
Xen0phobiak 15th January 2010, 19:12 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Farfalho
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xen0phobiak
<3 the blind AMD fanboyism in this thread.

AMD moved ahead with the T-Bird 1400, some of the later XP cores, and the A64 but didn't push hard enough to move beyond cheap machines and a fanboy niche. Aside from that, Intel have had the better products, and my cash.

<3 the irony of the blind Intel fanboy in this thread

Exactly my good man.
Ficky Pucker 15th January 2010, 20:25 Quote
either the guy is jackass or this quote was taken out of context...
NethLyn 15th January 2010, 23:13 Quote
Not news, it'd be the same as a high street bank employee forced to take their bank's current account - they'd choose what was best for them in the end regardless of how it looked to the company.
Burnout21 16th January 2010, 13:21 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Digi
Seems to me that maybe he was saying it in the sense that; ''our products are not competitive enough right now, we need to do something about it'' and not so much bashing his own company. Regardless, how can Intel use this as proof they weren't a big competitor at that point? They were pretty much the only and certainly the next biggest manufacturer of desktop CPU's and quoting mails from inside AMD is beside the point. Down with the Intel scum!


Well not so, the AMD K8 in 2004 was storming the gaming market Athlon 64's were leaving Intel in there dust. However the commercial market were still buying intel.

AMD's success in the gaming market can be largely given to Nvidia releasing SLi on the AMD plateform, then DFI giving the nforce 4 chipset a kick in the arse and producing a series of amazing motherboards!
benji2412 16th January 2010, 13:24 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xen0phobiak
Exactly my good man.

Think you missed what he meant mate....
Xen0phobiak 16th January 2010, 13:48 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by benji2412
Think you missed what he meant mate....

I think you missed my sarcasm :).
Krayzie_B.o.n.e. 18th January 2010, 01:19 Quote
That's why I like AMD, they tell the truth. If your making crappy products at least be honest about it then correct the problem. Around that time their products were pretty much non competitive and Intel could do no wrong. (Except bully vendors around like the MOB).

But today I'm sure Henry Richards would buy AMD, they may not be the all around best but they perform and have a better price range.
BLC 18th January 2010, 08:42 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by NethLyn
Not news, it'd be the same as a high street bank employee forced to take their bank's current account - they'd choose what was best for them in the end regardless of how it looked to the company.

I work for a high street bank (well, the Insurance division of a high street bank, but it's all the same company) and we *are* forced to take out their current accounts. We're told that we have to have this in order to receive wages, and it's apparently some sort of tax thing... You're free to have as many accounts as you please with other banks and move your money where you please, but your wages have to be paid into one of *their* accounts.

Back OT though, whether taken out of context or not it's still a bit of a facepalm for PR; AMD's marketing guys certainly won't be dismissing it quite so quickly... Regardless of how their products stack up against others in terms of performance - now or in the past - AMD's brand power pales in comparison to Intel's, and comments like this really don't help them.

Personally I think they should both be focussing their efforts on more efficient architectures. Sure x86 & x64 are powerful, but there are more efficient ways to shunt instructions through a CPU. Hence why we don't see x86 in mobile phones...
biebiep 18th January 2010, 10:09 Quote
He said he wouldn't buy AMD processors. Because at that time, no one did (Yes, you all did, but people who read bit-tech are hardly the masses are they?)

Average Joe was buying Intel, because IT WAS INTEL. And Intel had a bigger name... I didn't buy AMD back then, you know why? cuz the competition was friggin INTEL....


I see his point.
metarinka 18th January 2010, 20:36 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by biebiep
He said he wouldn't buy AMD processors. Because at that time, no one did (Yes, you all did, but people who read bit-tech are hardly the masses are they?)

Average Joe was buying Intel, because IT WAS INTEL. And Intel had a bigger name... I didn't buy AMD back then, you know why? cuz the competition was friggin INTEL....



I see his point.
yah it's all about context. You can be a clear performance and price leader and still not be a successful or dominant product if you have bad marketing, distribution (which is what the AMD law suit was about) or some other perceived barrier of entry. AMD in that time frame was kicking Intel all over the map, but does anyone remember seeing an AMD commercial? branding was bad, only the hardcore types to this day are really aware of AMD. Everyone wants an "intel" in their computer cause it's good right? this has been the crux of AMD's problem that and the anti-competitive practices intel did.
thehippoz 18th January 2010, 20:53 Quote
the blue man group XD
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