I Want Money

Here’s a pretty amazing claim to a judge:

Advanced Micro Devices needs to more than double its share of the microprocessor market to survive, according to a brief filed by the company’s lawyers in its antitrust lawsuit against Intel

At the end of 2007, AMD had 13 percent of the processor market, “less than half of what it requires to operate long-term as a sustainable business,” the brief said, explaining that Intel’s alleged efforts to shut the company out of the processor business had largely succeeded.

“Measured on a revenue share basis, AMD made little progress growing its slice of the pie,” it said.

The argument that Intel’s alleged anti-competitive behavior has so hurt AMD that its future is in jeopardy is crucial to the company’s claims for relief, including damages. But the claims could further spook corporate customers already wary of the company’s financial troubles.

(Before we look at this, keep in mind that AMD is talking about revenue share, not unit share.)

What are we to make of this?

I could get into a long, drawn-out explanation with lots of numbers and graphs, or I can just say this:

AMD is saying that it can’t compete against Intel to get the market share it feels entitled to, so one way or another, Intel should not be allowed to make more than 60-70% of the world’s CPUs, leaving the rest for AMD, which could then charge a good deal more for its products.

In other words, they want a quota.

That is the ONLY way AMD could get the revenue share it wants. It indeed it would be a very healthy company financially if it could get such a deal, and anybody investing in AMD now would make a killing.

As I said a while back, this is a company that’s turning into a lawsuit.

Unfortunately, such an event would also mean much higher CPU prices for the rest of us. Not only AMD prices would go up, Intel CPUs would get a shortage premium, too.

Or the judge could just say, “Well, if you need all that extra money to survive, I guess you’re going to die.” I think that’s more likely than any quotas.

But I don’t think AMD is really serious about this. The intended audience for such claims may not be, probably isn’t, the judge.

Remember, AMD’s core problem, yesterday, today and tomorrow is lack of money. This is a company that’s going to need additional billions to see the next decade.

If making grandiose legal claims persuades someone with more dollars than sense to pump a few billion into the company soon to get in on what they think is the ground floor, that’s what they’ll do.


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