AMD hires Apple and Qualcomm engineers to get up to speed on mobile. Is this too little, too late?

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origin_5794218862Apparently, mobile is the next big thing. What a shock.

AMD has hired an Apple veteran to lead its chip software developer and a Qualcomm engineer to lead its system-on-chip efforts, according to Reuters. Apple’s Wayne Meretsky and Qualcomm’s Charles Matar will join another ex-Apple employee, Jim Keller, who had previously designed processors for iPhone and iPad.

A quick glance at AMD’s current lineup of chips reveals the likely reason: This company is not prepared for a future in which you can sell more chips and, perhaps, make more money in smartphones, tablets, and other devices versus desktop and laptop PCs. Amid the company’s processors for PCs, graphics cards, memory, and embedded solutions is only one solution for mobile: AMD’s Z-Series, announced late last year.

That’s a massive problem, as Intel’s lackluster earnings a few days ago showed. PC sales are down, and PC processor sales are down as well. This is not the first time we’ve heard this song.

So AMD needs to get up to speed, and quickly, expanding its Z-series and making it a processor family that tablet manufacturers want to use.

It’s worth noting that AMD recently announced that it would offer ARM-based processors in its server chips, a move that VentureBeat’s Dean Takahashi compared to “a major league baseball team switching to football.” They’re not expected until 2014, and server chips are generally not identical to mobile chips, but it does mean the veteran PC chipmaker could be inching closer to ARM mobile chips as well, such as those used by Apple’s iPad, iPhone, and iPod, along with almost every other smartphone and tablet on the market.

The big question: Is this too little, too late for perpetually sad-sack AMD?

photo credit: LoKan Sardari via photopin cc


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