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AMD's Dr. Ruiz pathetically pleads to survive

Updated on July 13, 2008

"We're not perfect, but we're a force that pushes the marketplace."

Check that link way down the column and come on back... I'll be waiting for you!

For the first time in memory the CEO of a major technology company has addressed the public and the best that he could muster is not a claim that his company's products have any technological or pricing advantage, but that the customer should buy his products so that the company would not go bankrupt and leave a monopoly in its place.

This video is stunning not only in its profound ineptitude and Dr. Ruiz's mangling pronunciation, but for what it says about what not too long ago was a major player in the world of CPU development and is now not even an also-ran.

It wasn't that long ago that CNBC Mad Money's Jim Cramer echoed many Wall Street analysts' conclusions that AMD at $40 was a great buy as the sky was the limit. Since that time a staggering series of missteps which began with the misbegotten acquisition of Canadian video card manufacturer ATI and ran through the single worst product launch in silicon history, the K10 line of hobbled Phenoms and cancelled Kumas, which brought the stock to the $5 to $7 doldrums and threatened to leave the company hung out to dry on a Chapter 11 branch.

The last couple of years have seen ATI be disemboweled and effectively abandon the highly lucrative single processor high end video field to arch-enemy Nvidia. To illustrate just how severely Wall Street has punished Dr. Ruiz, the entire market capitalization of the joint company is barely what AMD paid to buy ATI. To put this into perspective, it was like putting a $500,000 addition onto a million dollar building and then finding a year later that you can only list the building for sale for $500,000."

The AMD ATI debacle is a woeful tale of CPUs not functioning properly due to TLB errata, non-compliance with specifications causing major clients to cancel sales of thousands of units, deliveries that never happened, and a cornucopia of lies, damned lies and statistics that make you wonder why Dr. Ruiz hasn't been relegated from the Executive Suite to the Janitorial Suite. No, actually AMD rewarded Dr. Ruiz with a raise so that his compensation package for 2007 totaled $12,848,435: About $12,848,434 more than his performance was actually worth.

If the AMD marketing department is so desperate that it can't come up with any reason why the personal computing customer should purchase AMD-ATI products (or as wags call it DAAM-IT) other than they would be helping avoid big bad Intel from returning us all to the era of "any color they want as long as it's black" monopolistic tyranny, then they had better pack up their bags and head for the unemployment line. In the meanwhile, my personal advice to anyone mindlessly fanboish enough to want to purchase a DAAM-IT product is that only a fool would invest in a product that may very soon be orphaned. The best possible advice that can be given at this time is: Let the buyer beware of Dr. Ruiz and his "please please please buy them so we don't die" products.


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