Tag: profits

AMD chief designer heads to Samsung

Fabless chipmaker AMD has lost another of its senior executives as chief design engineer Michael Goddard has cleaned out his desk and moved to Samsung.

Goddard’s official title was corporate vice president of product design engineering and chief engineer of client products. It appears that he wanted something a little more catchy.

According to CRNGoddard is now vice president and system architect at Samsung’s Austin, Texas-based facility. The move was kept quiet and was only spotted when he changed his LinkedIn profile.

Goddard has been with AMD for 25 years and his exit is being seen as part of the many woes the company is going through at the moment.

There has been an exodus at AMD lately as the company restructures. While this might be considered normal, there are some fears that restructuring cuts and product delays are making it impossible for the company to do its job.

AMD plans to lay off approximately 15 percent of its global workforce, or nearly 1,770 employees, to cut down on its operational costs. But a chunk of these job losses have come from the company’s engineering staff.

Now executives are finding that they no longer have enough engineers to do projects effectively and are just going somewhere they can.

Goddard had worked closely with former AMD engineer and CEO Dirk Meyer. He also helped spearhead AMD’s design operations in India.

He joins AMD expats, former chief financial officer Thomas Seifert, who also served as AMD’s interim CEO for eight months, and Bob Feldstein, former AMD business development executive.

What should be worrying for AMD is that these people are not retiring and falling from the face of the earth. They are taking all their AMD experience to the company’s rivals. 

Oracle promises strong sales growth

Oracle predicts that software sales growth will stay strong into the new year.
While the rest of the US is worried that there could be big tax hikes and US government spending cuts that could cause Oracle customers to stop buying, it does not seem that the company is too anxious.
Oracle President Safra Catz told investors that businesses were still looking to spend money already allocated to 2012 technology budgets, and this quarter’s results were above what Wall Street expected.
She said that Oracle customers were keen to close deals and there is no negative impact on pricing.
Oracle believes that software sales would grow three to 13 percent this quarter. However, it expected fiscal third-quarter hardware products sales to be flat to down 10 percent from a year ago.
Software sales and cloud software subscriptions rose 17 percent from a year earlier to $2.4 billion. It had predicted that new software sales would climb five to 15 percent from a year earlier, when it last reported earnings on September 20.
According to the San Francisco Gate, Oracle posted a second-quarter profit, excluding items, of 64 cents per share, beating the average analyst forecast of 61 cents.
Catz said Oracle’s customers are still spending on software and none of the fiscal cliff negotiations in Washington appears to be bothering them, at least for now.
Oracle’s troubled hardware division, which it acquired with its $5.6 billion purchase of Sun Microsystems in January 2010, is still not doing that well. The division’s revenue has fallen every quarter and this time sales fell 23 percent from a year earlier to $734 million. Oracle had thought that hardware sales would drop between 8 and 18 percent.
Chief Executive Larry Ellison insisted that hardware systems revenue will start growing in the fourth quarter which begins 1 March. 

Sony likely to sell its battery business

Sony has been approached by at least three investment banks who want to sell its battery business.

The troubled technology giant has said that it wants to offload non-core assets and focus on reviving its consumer electronics business.

According to Reuters, the unit had sales last year of $1.74 billion, and its sale would help Sony cut costs and generate cash as it restructures.

CEO Kazuo Hirai wants to rebuild Sony around gaming, digital imaging and mobile devices, while nurturing new businesses such as medical devices.

He is axing 10,000 jobs, closing facilities and selling assets.

Apparently the potential buyers for Sony Energy Devices include a a joint venture with Union Carbide, Hon Hai Precision Industry and BYD which is a Chinese carmaker backed by billionaire investor Warren Buffett.

Hon Hai is also in negotiations to become rival TV maker Sharp’s biggest shareholder. 

Credit agency rubbishes Sony

Troubled electronics giant Sony has just received a kick in the nadgers from the credit rating agency Fitch.

According to Reuters, Fitch claimed that even Panasonic had a better chance than rival Sony of surviving Japan’s consumer electronics slump.

Fitch cut Panasonic’s rating by two notches to BB and Sony three notches to BB minus. It is the first time that the three major ratings agencies have put the creditworthiness of either company into junk bond territory.

Panasonic is likely to survive because it has a fairly lucrative, if dull, whitewear line. If people don’t want its electronics they still need to wash their socks by night during the Christmas period.

Matt Jamieson, Fitch’s head of Asia-Pacific said that Panasonic “has the advantage of a relatively stable consumer appliance business that is still generating positive margins”.

But Sony had practically all of its electronic business losing cash and the company was more overstretched than a victim of the Spanish Inquistion.

Generally Japan’s TV makers have been kicked to death by cheaper models from Samsung Electronics and other foreign rivals.

Panasonic is looking to expand its businesses in appliances, solar panels, lithium batteries and automotive components. While appliances make up six percent of the company’s sales, but they generate good margins.

Sony is focusing on consumer gadgets in a bid to regain ground from Samsung and Apple in mobile devices while bolstering digital cameras and gaming. 

Lenovo clocks weak profit growth

Even as it heads to become the world’s top PC maker, Lenovo has recorded its weakest quarterly profit growth in more than two years.

Lenovo reported a net profit of $162 million in the July-September period, compared with $143.9 million a year earlier.

The company had made a number of acquisitions in the United States, Japan, Germany and Brazil over the past few years which has strengthened its hand.

Lenovo derives nearly half of its sales from homeground China where sales are strong. However it appears that it is losing cash in areas such as the United States, and Europe due to the economic problems in those regions.

Lenovo shares are up 28 percent since the start of this year. It is doing much better than other PC makers, such as HP, Dell and Acer.

Reuters trotted out the mantra that the real reason is that people are no longer using PCs and are buying mobile toys instead. However, anyone who has tried to do any real work on a tablet will tell you that is not happening – and besides, the reduction in PC sales only seems to apply to the economic stricken regions of the EU and US.

Lenovo has launched its own mobile gear too. Its LePhones have gained traction in China with the PC maker ranking second in terms of market share in the second quarter, behind Samsung. 

Sony starts to turn around

Sony appears to have weathered the worst of its financial storm and managed a small operating profit in the second quarter.

True, getting in the black did require selling its chemicals business and it is still losing a lot of money on its TV business, but it did manage to keep to its full-year profit guidance.

According to Nasdaq, July-September saw an operating profit of $379 million compared with a $20,507,708 loss a year ago. It was slightly better than what most analysts thought.

Sony sold its chemical business to state-backed Development Bank of Japan and the company said that other asset sales may further inflate operating profit this business year.

Sony stuck to its prediction of a full-year operating profit of $1.63 billion.

There are still signs that Sony is not doing as well as it would have hoped. The company cut its forecast for full-year sales of its hand-held PSP and Vita game consoles to 10 million from a previous forecast of 12 million.

It also expects to sell fewer TV sets, only 14.5 million and 16 million compact digital cameras, lower than it previously forecast. Its PlayStation 3 console sales are the same at 16 million.

It is not the only telly maker which is suffering. Panasonic added that it would lose almost $10 billion this year. 

Western Digital loses drive as profits dry up

Western Digital is in trouble even after announcing that its first-quarter profit was better than Wall Street’s gloomy expectations.

The maker of hard drives had been expected to announce that things would get a little better in the coming quarter, but it looks like its tarot card readers did not think this was likely.

To be fair it is not doing that badly given the economic circumstances, but Wall Street seems to think it should be doing much better.

Instead the company said that slowing PC sales and falling IT spending would hurt current-quarter sales and eat into margins like a hungry swarm of mosquitoes.

It is not clear why Western Digital is doing so badly. Its storage devices are a key part of the move to the cloud and data centres. Indeed, some think that the company’s problems were hidden thanks to the strong growth this business.

Western Digital did flag a weakness in its enterprise business last month when it lowered its revenue outlook.

Outgoing Chief Executive John Coyne told Reuters that economic uncertainty was taking a toll on IT spending and there were elections, changes in government, fiscal cliffs and all sorts of bad stuff which is impacting spending at a corporate and a consumer level.

Windows 8, Microsoft’s latest operating system scheduled to be launched this Friday, was expected to boost PC sales. However that is starting to look like it might be a false hope as even Intel does not think it will make much odds.

Western Digital said it expects second-quarter sales of between $3.55 billion and $3.7 billion.

The company expects second-quarter adjusted gross margins of 28 percent, below its long-term target of 30 percent.

First-quarter net profit more than doubled to $519 million thanks to the company’s acquisition of Hitachi’s hard-disk drive business earlier this year. 

AMD loses another executive

AMD is getting the same sort of reputation for keeping its executives that STALAG LUFT 3 had for holding Allied soldiers.

Executives have been leaving like rats on the Titanic who have just seen Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet boarding and have heard the strains of Celine Dion cranking up on the horizon.

AMD announced that CFO Thomas Seifert was resigning which sent the company’s share price into a tail spin.

Now it appears, according to Tech Report, that AMD’s Client Division chief, Chris Cloran, has cleaned out his desk and escaped over the walls using a ladder made out of old abandoned roadmaps.

Cloran was in charge of all of the client products which is the area which has been taking a pounding lately. It is also more than 80 percent of AMD’s revenue so it is a vital job which calls for a person with shedloads of experience.

AMD has said Lisa Su will take over as Interim Client Division chief.

She only joined last December but has already found the coffee machine and worked out where to kick the candy machine so that you get what you ordered, so everything should be OK.

AMD investors spooked by accountant's exit

AMD shares fell like a free falling team of parachuting elephants yesterday as investors reacted to the departure of the chipmaker’s chief financial officer.

One analyst referred to Thomas Seifert as “The Rock” for the chip maker’s investors, presumably because after wrestling with the numbers he is looking for a more glamorous career in Hollywood.

AMD’s stock was last trading down 12 percent shortly after the company said Seifert had cleaned out his desk.

Seifert has stepped down “to pursue other opportunities,” and AMD said that his exit was “not based on any disagreement over the company’s accounting principles or practices, or financial statement disclosures”.

Apparently he wants to be a CEO somewhere. He got a taste for the job when he was the interim chief executive officer after the sudden departure of ex-CEO Dirk Meyer last year. He was on the short list for candidates for permanent CEO, but the AMD board chose Lenovo executive Rory Read in August 2011.

Devinder Kumar, AMD’s corporate controller, has been named interim CFO while the company conducts a search for a replacement.

According to MarketWatch, investor expectations for AMD were pretty low and the resignation ought to spook some. 

AMD plans GPU price cuts

The beleaguered graphics market might get a kick out of a price war between AMD and Nvidia.

According to Anandtech, AMD will announce another round of price cuts across the board later this week.

The idea is to make AMD’s entire line a little bit more enticing against those for Nvidia.

A high-end 7970 will be chopped by $120 from the original launch price. When it hit the shops for the first time it was $549 and now it is just $429.

The 7950 will see a $110 price cut and the upper mid-range 7870 will retail at a $100 discount.

AMD seems to be wanting to cut its prices even at the bottom end of the market. The Radeon 7770 has fallen from $159 to $119 and the 7750 from $109 to $99.

At the moment AMD is having problems dealing with Nvidia’s GTX 660Ti which is a pretty good card for the price. Nvidia also has a larger number of powerful GPUs. AMD’s logic is that if its cards are cheap enough, then people will buy them.

It might be right, but the graphics chip market is in the doledrums at the moment with many of the chipmakers’ partners suffering the pinch. For some reason when Europe is in a recession, and people are looking for things in rubbish bins, people think that a graphics chip is something that they can skip for now.