AMD In The Black, Still Facing Upward Struggle

AMD released its results for Q2 2011 today and the news was generally good, though not as strong as investors might have preferred.

Sales revenue was $1.57B, down two percent from Q1 and five percent year-on-year. AMD notes that Q2 was a 13 week quarter as opposed to the 14-week Q1, but that's not something that hurt Intel's results. Operating income was $105 million, up from $54M in Q1 and down from $125M, year-on-year. The company reports that customer and OEM response to the Llano and Brazos APUs has been excellent, and the two platforms already account for more than 50 percent of AMD's mobile shipments. AMD will transition away from its older mobile hardware in the next two quarters, and Brazos/Llano should account for nearly all of AMD's laptop business by the end of the year.

When it comes to APU sales and performance, company executives could scarcely have been happier. Llano and Brazos have set mobile sales records with demand expected to increase in Q2. Bulldozer--also set to launch this quarter--was another positive topic. While the company wasn't willing to talk details, AMD is clearly hoping to see Bulldozer reversing declines in both the server and desktop business segments. This is particularly important in server, where much of the gains delivered by Brazos/Llano were wiped out by continuing declines in AMD's server business. Gross margins still increased to 46 percent--up one percent quarter-on-quarter.

CEO Searches, 28nm Investment

Interim CEO Thomas Seifert continued the company's policy of zero-information guidance when it comes to the ongoing search for a new CEO. "Search for a new CEO remains a top priority. The board is pleased with the quality of the candidates interviewed and as confident in its robust and active process," Seifert said. "Meeting a timeline is not the driving force in the search. Finding the right candidate is."

Pressed for details, Seifert declined to name names, expand on what the Board of Directors' wanted to see in a candidate, or provide any sort of material update on when the BoD thought it might complete the search process. The interim CEO referred, a bit testily, to the company's strong execution over the past six months, apparently forgetting that the details of said strategy were laid down by his predecessor, Dirk Meyer.

Unlike CPU revenue, which held largely flat, graphics revenue fell by 12 percent quarter-on-quarter and nearly 17 percent year-on-year. AMD revealed relatively little on this point, saying only: "The sequential decrease was driven primarily by lower discrete mobile unit shipments and seasonality in the desktop discrete graphics add-in board market. The annual decrease was primarily driven by lower unit shipments."

The company expects to lead the move to 28nm over its rival NVIDIA and reports that R&D costs associated with that process are part of what led to a $7 million operating loss for the graphics subdivision.