We and others reported the other day that Clawhammer wasn’t going to be generally available for the desktop until late in 2003.
Some unknown AMD flack tried to play spin doctor on this (see the end of the article):
“AMD asks us to point out that Hammer schedules haven’t slipped from its previous advice, as we originally suggested in this article. A spokesman from the company told us that desktop versions of Hammer are still planned to ship (for revenue) in Q1 2003 with systems on shelves at the turn of Q1 2003, not the second half of 2003 as we stated.”
Well, here’s a transcript of the relevant portions of the conference call. The person speaking for AMD is Robert Rivet, who is only a measly Senior Vice-President and Chief Financial Officer of the company:
At about the 1:08 point in the recording, this exchange occurs:
Soundview Technologies Analyst: Can you talk more about the Hammer schedule milestones and sort of where what the confidence level is right now on keeping that schedule?
AMD: Relative to the schedule, we’re currently looking at mid-first half ’03 to be our intial shipments of product. We are focused right now on the service space, we think the service space gives us the best opportunity in particular to break into the enterprise class customers which we want to break into and also gives us the area that’s absolutely the clean kill . It by far will be the best server product available on the market. . . .
Previously, AMD had said Clawhammer would come at the end of the first quarter, with Sledgehammer following.
At about the 1:20 mark in the recording, another analyst followed up on this:
Prudential Securities Analyst: On Hammmer, it seems that your strategy has changed a little bit in that you’re going to
address the server market first and foremost. Why is that the case? Is there an issue with the performance of
the chip, or is that a more attractive market Are you going to focus first on the Opteron family rather than
on the Athlon Hammer core?
AMD: The first product we’re bringing to market is actually based on what we recently called the Sledgehammer die.
We think the biggest opportunity for this product is in the server space, and with the Sledgehammer die, that’s
really what the market is going to serve first. Also with the . . . putting Barton into our roadmap, which
starts to ship in the first quarter, we believe that with the Athlon XP lineup based on that K7 core called
Barton that we’re going to be able to have a competitive performance product in the desktop space and the
mobile space through most of ’03 with that product. So the real focus on getting the benefits of Hammer is
going to be driven largely by the server space and the workstation space to some extent and as we go through
the year we’ll get into the high-performance desktop space and it doesn’t really become a player in the volume
desktop space until sometime in the second half of next year.
Analyst: So is this a change in the strategy over the past quarter or so?
AMD: Ummm, a little bit of a change in strategy in that we’re trying to broaden AMD’s presence in the marketplace . . . .
Judge for yourself. What do you think? Do you believe AMD’s CFO, or do you believe some anonymous PR person?
Nor is this a slip of the tongue about a release date. Mr. Rivet didn’t just give a date; he also flat-out said that Bartons were going to command the desktop for most of 2003.
How People Play Word Games
With those statements in mind, let’s look back at what AMD PR said:
“. . . desktop versions of Hammer are still planned to ship (for revenue) in Q1 2003 with systems on shelves at the turn of Q1 2003.”
Notice the PR person said “Hammer,” not “Clawhammer” or “Athlon Hammer.” If that “desktop version of Hammer” is an Opteron Sledgehammer, that would be consistent with AMD’s CFO statement about
“the real focus on getting the benefits of Hammer is going to be driven largely by the server space and the workstation space to some extent”
I don’t doubt there may be some Opteron Sledgehammer workstations out there next spring (along with workstation prices), but please also note that AMD’s CFO distinguished “workstations” from “high performance desktop,” which is what we’re interested in.
So the AMD PR statement may well be technically accurate, but if you thought the statement meant Clawhammers were still on schedule, well, they fooled you.