Ben Williams, vice president of AMD’s Commercial Business Unit, said in an interview that AMD wants to control 30 percent of the business processor market by 2009. With the general success of the Opteron chips, AMD also hopes to open the door to desktops and laptops in companies that already use the server processor. Although the company has so far mainly enjoyed success among gamers, the processor builder is now aiming its arrows at the so-called decision makers: IT managers and chief information officers in large companies. Three years ago, AMD was a virtually unknown player in the server market, but with the Opteron, the company gained partners such as HP, Sun Microsystems and IBM. According to Williams, IT managers who buy Opteron chips are already asking themselves about the client products that AMD offers, which he says is a new phenomenon.
Currently, AMD has a market share of five percent in the business desktop and notebook market and eleven percent in the server sector. In order to increase this market share to thirty percent over the next four years, the company wants to draw attention to the improved energy saving possibilities. For this it will mainly use the Turion, which must compete with Intel’s popular Pentium M. AMD also thinks it has an important trump card to conquer market share with the dual-core chips. It is likely that AMD will use the same approach as with the Opteron, with the chips initially mainly being pushed into specific sectors, such as the transport sector and financial services.
However, it will require a great deal of cooperation from PC builders and corporate IT services. Software images of Intel systems will not always run on AMD computers, forcing system administrators to maintain various configurations. System builders such as Dell will also need additional test teams to test the various motherboards and chipsets with the new processors. However, in addition to the technical limitations and third-party cooperation that will be necessary to achieve a 30 percent market share, there is another important factor at play: the lawsuit against Intel.
However, Williams declined to comment on whether AMD needs to win this antitrust case to meet its 30 percent target, saying it is focusing on convincing the industry and leaving the court battle to the lawyers. This case is unlikely to go to court before the end of next year, but according to Roger Kay, director of Endpoint Technologies, it will be difficult for AMD to achieve the necessary growth without an “extra push”. On the other hand, winning the lawsuit alone will not be enough to convince IT managers and OEM system builders to implement AMD processors.