rory read

Advanced Micro Devices chief executive Rory Read said he foresees “continued choppiness” in the PC market for the first half of 2013. In a conference call with analysts, Read said that the company’s fourth-quarter loss was due to a challenging macroeconomic environment and weaker-than-expected PC market.

“As I mentioned on our last earnings call, we are executing a turnaround that will take several quarters,” Read said (pictured above) on the call. “We expect continued choppiness in the PC market in the first half of 2013, and will closely manage the business as we reset, restructure and ultimately transform AMD.”

He said AMD will continue to focus on markets that are adjacent to its PC microprocessor and graphics chip businesses. The specific segments AMD will focus on include dense server, semi-custom, embedded, and ultra-low-power client markets. Those are areas where AMD views Intel, the world’s biggest chip maker, might be vulnerable to competition.

AMD is completing is restructuring, including layoffs of 15 percent of its staff, in the first quarter. AMD said it has its graphics chip in the Nintendo Wii U game console, but it has been mum about rumors that its chips will be used in upcoming consoles from Sony and Microsoft.

Read said that AMD grew sales on Black Friday for AMD-based notebook computers sold at retail. One in three notebooks sold in the U.S. in the fourth quarter had AMD chips, Read said. During the quarter, AMD added TV and PC maker Vizio as a new customer. Vizio’s first AMD products included two touchscreen laptops and a Windows 8 tablet.

During the quarter, AMD began shipping its code-named Richland accelerated processing unit (APU), which combines graphics and microprocessor functions on the same chip. AMD also had design wins for its Kabini APU and ultra=low-power Temash APU. Both of those chips are going through final internal testing and are expected to ship in the first half. Kabini and Temash target the market for notebook computers, tablets and convertibles, which are laptops that can also be used as a touchscreen tablet.

Read said the company will launch strong new APU and graphics chips in the first half of 2013 that will help grow its business.

“This is an unprecedented time in the PC industry,” Read said.