SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - PC chipmaker Advanced Micro Devices Inc reported solid earnings and said there was no strategic shift toward the mobile market following the former CEO’s recent departure.
Chief Financial Officer Thomas Seifert told analysts on a conference call that AMD would concentrate on rolling out its new lineup of microchips after Chief Executive Dirk Meyer abruptly left the company last week.
AMD has yet to join the race to design chips specifically aimed at the exploding market for ultramobile devices. Seifert acknowledged that was one of the reasons for Meyer’s departure but he said there would be no immediate strategic swings.
“To reduce it to a ‘just tablets’ statement would be wrong. ... It’s certainly not an indication that we’re going to let the focus shift away from what the priorities are in terms of delivering what we promised,” he said.
AMD said momentum for its new Fusion PC chip line, which will go head-to-head against new chips released by Intel, was strong and growing among computer manufacturers.
AMD posted better-than-expected earnings for the fourth quarter and said revenue in the first quarter could be flat or down 4 percent versus the December quarter, which normally gets a boost from holiday shopping.
AMD in November began shipping its Fusion processors for low-end laptops, launching a product line it hopes will help it regain market share lost to Intel. Some analysts have questioned whether Meyer’s abrupt departure could be disruptive to the launch of the Fusion line this year.
Sales of desktop and laptop computers have suffered in recent months due to tough economies in the United States and Europe and exploding consumer interest in smartphones and tablets.
This year, sales in the PC market could increase 10 or 11 percent, while AMD’s new Fusion chips will appear in notebook PCs made by Acer, Asus, Dell, HP, Lenovo, Samsung, Sony and Toshiba Corp, Seifert said.
“... these products are getting them a broader, wider swath of the PC (manufacturing) marketplace,” said Doug Freedman, an analyst at Gleacher & Co.
Last week, Intel gave a rosy outlook for early 2011 and set an upbeat tone for quarterly earnings season, but its stock fell on concerns about its lack of competitive mobile chips.
On a non-GAAP basis, AMD said its earnings were 14 cents a share, higher than the 11 cents per share that analysts on average expected, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. Non-GAAP earnings in the fourth quarter of 2009 were 11 cents per share.
Analysts have speculated that an eventual move toward the mobile market by AMD could entail designing energy-efficient chips using an architecture licensed by ARM, which dominates the market for smartphones and laptops.
Asked about ARM’s technology, Seifert underscored AMD’s investment in the x86-based processors it and Intel sell.
“You have to realize the expertise and the (intellectual property) that we have in the company on x86 and (graphics) processors is broad,” he said. “Those capabilities can also work on other platforms.”
AMD said its revenue in the fourth-quarter of 2010 was $1.65 billion, the same as the company pre-reported last week. The figure was flat with the year ago.
Analysts on average had forecast AMD’s revenue in the current first quarter would be $1.54 billion.
Shares of AMD were down 0.25 percent in after-hours trade after closing up 1.13 percent at $8.02.
Reporting by Noel Randewich; editing by Carol Bishopric, Phil Berlowitz