The secret of AMD’s recent success: An interview with John Byrne

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At the end of 2008, AMD’s share price was just under $1.82. At the time we sat down to write this article, they were trading at $9.18. You don’t need a degree from the London School of Economics to see a 500% rise. There will have been lots of factors, but one is very hard to ignore – and that’s the shake-up in personnel at the very top of the organisation. As Corporate Vice President, World Wide Sales, John Byrne’s main responsibilities are channel sales and looking after small and medium sized businesses – as well as managing partner relationships with the major Taiwanese vendors. KitGuru caught up with Scotsman Byrne for an exclusive interview on how he sees AMD.

The biggest noise from AMD right now is all around Fusion. KitGuru’s hearing a lot of different numbers. The question is, how can you get to the truth?  We needed access to a straight-talking Scot. Despite growing up around the corner from Douglas Park, John Byrne is a life-long Celtic fan. After driving graphics sales for nVidia for several years, he moved across to ATI in 2002. Four years ago, he joined AMD proper. Initially with responsibility for graphics – his duties have increased over time and John Byrne is now Corporate Vice President, worldwide channel sales, managing channel and SMB as well as the Taiwan Partner sales organisation.
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AMD CVP John Byrne is very confident about the company's future

We decided to kick off our interview by asking Byrne how well the launch has really gone. Worth bearing in mind that companies like AMD often measure the success of a launch by how many ‘design wins’ they get. For example, if HP or Dell agrees to create a new product with AMD Fusion, then that’s considered a design win. The more design wins you have around a launch – the greater your sales will be further down the line.

“The launch of AMD’s Fusion APUs at CES this year was accompanied by the announcement of more than 100 design wins for AMD Fusion based platforms”, declared Byrne.

By anyone’s count, 100 different design wins is significant.

That should lead to a shift in power, from blue to green, in the mobile space.

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12 Comments
  • Malicki
    February 22, 2011
    #1
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    Quite a lot to read. not the usual interview.

    He seems quite clued in on the industry. They seem to be doing well.

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  • John
    February 22, 2011
    #2
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    100 platform design wins? whoever would have known that.

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  • Samuel Earnshaw
    February 22, 2011
    #3
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    I am really looking forward to the bulldozer designs, they need something more powerful than their high end CPU’s at the minute.

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  • Francis
    February 22, 2011
    #4
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    The biggest benefit could be their mobile sector targeting. Intel really struggle with mobile chips.

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  • Tech Head
    February 22, 2011
    #5
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    I dont think fusion is late to the party, its just its sitting in the corner and no one is playing with it, as no one knows its even out.

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  • faith
    February 22, 2011
    #6
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    @Tech Head: We agree. For some reason, the overall launch has not propagated to the person-in-the-street yet. But reviews only started 4 weeks ago, so we guess it will take a little longer

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  • Manhandler
    February 22, 2011
    #7
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    Seems like a smart bloke. I still think they are lagging way behind intel in the CPU arena, no matter how they spin it. those 6 core chips are still slower than intels 4 cores.

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  • AMD4EVER
    February 22, 2011
    #8
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    Love AMD processors. those 6 core black editions are great value for money. Look forward to seeing bulldozer too. I hope they kick intels ass.

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  • Tri Color
    February 22, 2011
    #9
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    A lot of reading in this interview. I cant help but feel he is hiding a little about some of the facts. Still thanks for the time.

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  • Hank
    February 23, 2011
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    good reading thanks for the interview.

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  • Mitch
    February 25, 2011
    #11
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    Ive spoken to John personally. He used to be my neighbor. This man is rediculously smart, but he just never says anything out the company’s projects. I couldn’t even get him to admit to that AMD was working on a 6000 series before it came out!

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  • Faith
    February 26, 2011
    #12
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    @Mitch: Surely there must be some dodgy photos you can share !

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