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Channel marketing guru Bristow moves from Asus to AMD

As AMD begins a huge shake up of its company organisation, it looks like top personnel are being brought in at various levels to bolster the company, ready for a huge assault on the market in 2011. KitGuru has just learned of a significant movement in the local market, read on for more details.

Asus is a strange company. For many years it progressed slowly, increasing revenue steadily off the back of its powerful component business. Then, all of a sudden, someone in Taiwan drank too many espressos, was gripped by genius, and came up with the idea of a tiny laptop PC, 7″ display with no ROM drive, 2GB of solid state memory as a hard drive, 256MB memory and a freebie operating system based on Linux – all of which could be sold for next to nothing.

This is the screen that Asus used to change the world in 2007

Crazy or not, the EeePC was born and Asus would never be the same again.

Although the initial systems were quite poor in terms of performance and features, Asus pushed on with wave after wave of innovation – culminating in a range of 10″ products that have been selling by the bucket ever since.

Not happy with just the netbook market, they branched out into full sized laptops, stylish mini-ITX desktops and, we hear, a range of media streaming products for 2011.

Against that backdrop, Asus never once took its eye off the component market and, to this day, you only need to walk down London’s Tottenham Court Road and see the STACKS of Asus mainboards in all of the windows, to understand how much they have come to dominate that segment.

While all of this development was going on, Asus has also become one of the leading companies for AMD graphic cards, mainboards and – announced at CES – for its brand new Fusion platform products.

2011 will be a major year for AMD and it’s vital that the chip giant markets its new products as well as possible. While Intel’s Sandy Bridge processors have been sweeping performance records aside like leaves in a storm – the average selling price (ASP) for a system in the UK has been steadily dropping for many years.

According to reports we’re hearing from IDC, way more than 80% of the systems that’ll be sold in the UK in 2011 will retail for less than £600. For the complete system, including operating system etc. When you consider that the Core i5 2500 is around £170 and the Core i7 2600k is around £255 (processor only), you can see how Intel’s 2nd generation Core processors are unlikely to take over the mainstream market under £600.

At the same time, the graphics market has become intensely competitive, with AMD’s sole domination of the DX11 market now well and truly under fire from the latest GeForce products.

So, into this hugely competitive market comes a new marketing guru from Asus to AMD, Iain Bristow.

Iain Bristow giving a thank you speech at this year's Bit-Tech and Custom PC awards, where he collected a decent batch of trophies for Asus.

Even though Asus’ turneover is almost 50% more than AMD’s, for Bristow the move will seem like ‘returning to the mothership’. Asus is amazing at delivering final products to the market, for consumers to buy in store. AMD is a creator of the elements, the fundamentals, the ingredients themselves.

Sure, the challenge may seem daunting [May? – Ed], but could you really have more fun in life than trying to take on Intel in the CPU/chipset space, while at the same time trying to wrestle GPU market share from nVidia and portable share from Apple. That’s got to be three of the hardest challenges in the IT market, and we wish Iain luck.

While Bristow could not be reached for a comment, AMD's Craig Connell seems positively chuffed with the new addition to his team

So who are the winners and losers here?

Well Asus has already found a suitable replacement from EVGA, so that should work out fine. Intel will see that AMD is recruiting and will consider whether they need to do anything to counter the move. nVidia is probably not going to be happy. The head of nVidia’s European PR operation, Ben Berraondo, used to work with Iain at Asus and will probably be surprised to now be coming head-2-head against his old friend. Let’s hope they can still crack open a bottle of vino in friendship.

You can almost hear "Never take sides against anyone outside the family again Iain"

KitGuru says: It’s been a remarkable January so far, with the transfer window seeing more business than anyone would have expected. There are more stories coming through even as we type. Stay tuned!

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