Battered But Unbowed: AMD Reports Q2 Earnings

AMD announced its Q2 2009 results (PDF) today with figures that dashed any hope that the company might have found a rabbit hiding in its hat. AMD reported a loss of 49 cents a share ($330 million), after including some $86 million in revenue the company made selling inventory it wrote off back in the fourth quarter of 2008. Sales were down 13 percent year-on-year, but the microprocessor manufacturer designer managed to trim both its operating loss (down $49 million compared to Q1, to $249 million) and its net loss (down to the aforementioned $330 million from a Q1 high of $416 million). The company's gross margins declined from 43 percent to 37 percent over the period in a shift CEO Dirk Meyer described as "disappointing." Both of those figures include the positive impact of newly sold inventory the company had written off back in 2008; AMD's gross margin without those adjustment weighed in at 38 percent in Q1 and 29 percent in Q2. Intel, just in case you're curious, reported a 51 percent gross margin for Q2.

Broken out by product segment, AMD's microprocessor division reported revenue of $910 million, down three percent from Q1 and 17 percent from the second quarter of 2008. Unit shipments were flat year-on-year. The outlook on the GPU side was a bit stronger; AMD/ATI reported revenue of $251 million, up 13 percent from Q1 and one percent year-on-year. Despite its stronger performance, AMD's GPU division fell prey to the same ASP drop as the rest of the company. Unit shipment, however, grew.

Nevermind where we are, look at where we're going...

AMD's teleconference repeatedly emphasized the idea that the company, while in the doldrums at the moment, is in the midst of a turnaround that will see the company return to profitability by the fourth quarter of this year. To its credit, AMD was able to reference strong execution in multiple product areas over the last 6-12 months, as well as emphasize its plans for the second half of 2009. Over the next six months, AMD expects to improve its fab utilization, increase its 45nm product shipments (AMD shipped mostly 65nm parts in Q2), launch its Tigris notebook platform, and launch its first DX11-capable GPU. On the server side of its business, AMD expects its six-core Instanbul processor to bring home at least a few strips of bacon.

AMD updated its server roadmap back in April if you're curious what the company has coming down the pipe. Other (tentative) roadmaps show AMD beginning a transition to 32nm in 2010—might this step also mark the appearance of Bulldozer, AMD's next-generation architecture? God only knows. Fusion GPUs are also out in the ether, but while AMD will confirm that a CPU+GPU product is coming, they're not committing to a date. What AMD is apparently committed to is finishing 2009 in the black. Hopefully this time they'll manage it.