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Roy Taylor appointed head of AMD worldwide channel sales

In one of the world’s longest detours, technology sales guru Roy Taylor will be reunited with some of his oldest friends when he takes over the worldwide channel sales role for AMD in 2013.

KitGuru adds some historical context and ponders what John Byrne’s decision to bring Roy inside AMD will mean for the chip specialist.

Once upon a time, in a shire far, far away, Scottish braveheart John Byrne and true-Brit Roy Taylor came together to create a company specialising in technology sales.

We’re talking about the 1990s and the company’s key product was an Intel-compatible X86 processor from a small vendor called IBM.

The chips were marketed under the name Blue Lightning and the company was Blue Micro, founded in rural Britain in 1993 with the express aim of pushing IBM chips to the fore. The company quickly attracted new talent and grew not only itself, but also sales for IBM.

But it was over almost as soon as it started. IBM made the decision to move away from CPUs, so the team decided to go for the fledgling graphics brand, nVidia. Roy joined nVidia on the inside, helping to put together the regional teams needed to support expansion, while John formed an aggressive, motivated and highly-focused company called 3DSL in order to drive nVidia’s sales for the region. In no time at all, they were sitting pretty in the number one spot.

It’s at this point in our story that we’re gonna slide past the Hollywood-esque drama of lovers falling out with each other, going on to new partners (John to ATi and then AMD – Roy into the world’s of 3D production, developer relations, benchmarking and 21st century interfaces) and rejoin the happy couple at the point of reconciliation.

While the battle between AMD (ATi) and nVidia has been close over the years, it has always been marked by AMD’s ability to win long term deals into companies like Lenovo, while nVidia has engaged the channel harder – winning the hearts and minds of the gamer through programmes like TWIMTBP.

Also, at the grass roots (routes?) level, nVidia has traditionally done a great job of constant communication with the channel – using bright young bods to constantly communicate with customers – making sure they are onside with all of the latest promotions and offers.

John Byrne will be hoping that by re-uniting key members of the old Blue Micro team, AMD’s channel effort will be able to regain some of the old IBM-days magic.

It won’t be easy, but AMD’s CSO seems determined to win.

One challenge that will come up straight away for Roy will be to question ‘What the channel is stocking’. Companies can only sell what they are stocking. The same is true for distributors.  A quick ring around this morning shows that nVidia now has the majority of the  product lines available through some of the major distributors like Enta and VIP. Switching that ration will require serious work from Roy to turn around, but it’s good to have balance and competition in every market – so we wish him luck.

What do we think the underlying strategy is?

When it comes down to it, Roy Taylor is a hunter. He’s fiercely competitive and hates to lose. The single biggest thing that Roy can bring to AMD’s channel game is a desire to win – and KitGuru’s exclusive review of the VTX3D 7870 BLACK shows that it’s exactly the kind of tool he’s going to need to achieve that result.

All together, now sing: Love is such a beautiful thing

KitGuru says: Byrne’s decision to recruit someone of Roy Taylor’s calibre will create a lot of opportunities for AMD – and that puts the focus squarely on AMD’s engineering teams. Can they execute? Give the right ammunition to the right soldiers and, even against Intel and nVidia, you can look to score some wins. Send the best troops into the field without proper equipment and supplies, and their skills won’t matter.

Comment below or in the KitGuru forums.

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