AMD may be looking to outsource some chip development

AMD is on a roll these days thanks to scoring both the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, but it's not stopping there. At the recent Bank of America Merrill Lynch Global Technology Conference, AMD CFO Devinder Kumar said the company has more custom SoC wins, and hinted at outsourcing some important development jobs.

When asked by BofA Merrill Lynch's Vivek Arya about more design wins, which AMD has teased, Kumar said "I can tell you that, very real highly confident with one to two design wins this year." He did not say who the partners were because AMD would not disclose until the partners were ready to disclose, but he added "one to two before the end of the year and then one to two going forward with the opportunities are right off demand."

He also stated that these opportunities were not small potatoes, but in the $200 million to $500 million plus range, which is exactly what people attending a conference like that want to hear.

A rumor floating around, thanks to a story on DigiTimes last week, is that AMD is preparing to outsource its chipset development to Asmedia. Asmedia is a subsidiary of Asustek, which has come on strong in the PC and tablet business.

Word is AMD's job cuts in 2012 hit the chipset division particularly hard. Chipsets are a necessary evil for CPU companies. They aren't sexy and don't derive a lot of revenue. And while CPUs add new features and power all the time, chipsets are there for stuff like USB, networking, memory management and SATA. No one gets excited about new chipsets like they do over a CPU, but CPUs absolutely need chipsets to run.

There had been rumors prior to this that AMD would look to partner with Asmedia to add SATA Express support to its chipsets, so this might be what DigiTimes picked up. And the knock among enthusiasts is that AMD's chipsets have lagged. So they are clearly due for an upgrade, and a motherboard maker like Asmedia/Asus would be ideal.

All in all, these show signs of a steadily improving AMD, something we need. As good as Intel and Nvidia are at self-motivation, a healthy competitor never hurt.

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