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Govt deals: AMD for even field with Intel

business Updated: Nov 04, 2009 21:29 IST
Narayanan Madhavan

Microchip maker Advanced Micro Devices Inc (AMD) is trying to level the playing field in government contracts in its traditional battle with market leader Intel Corp and is looking for a regime in which competition would be actively encouraged, its Chief Executive Officer Dirk Meyer says.

The irony is that unlike in software, where there is a noisy debate between platforms owned by Microsoft and rivals including Linux and other open-source platforms, in the chip business, AMD often faces situations where government contracts assume Intel is the only player around.

“Sadly our market share here in India is lower than our worldwide average basis,” Meyer told Hindustan Times in an interview.

“One of the big opportunities here is through the government -- government procurement, e-governance initiatives and so on. And sadly, we find ourselves disadvantaged relative to our ability to participate because, as an example, many government tenders specify Intel only,” Meyer said.

“Clearly that does not make sense,” Meyer said. “Competition is a natural positive force in any procurement exercise.”

While there is no sweeping rule in the government for or against any microchip, AMD officials say only about 20 per cent of the deals are actually open to competition.

AMD has come a long way from the position a decade ago, when it was seen as the cheaper alternative to Intel.

The 10,000-employee strong company, which has 1,000 people in Bangalore and Hyderabad working mainly on research and development, now specialises in microchips to enable consumer experience in graphics, using that on top of its central processing units (CPUs) that form the core of a computer.

“Our team here is not a job shop,” Meyer said, adding how the Indian centres have helped AMD build the latest products used in computer databases.

In its marketing strategy, unlike Intel, which is advertised boldly with the “Intel Inside” slogan, AMD is a quieter partner for partner companies that sell computers loaded with its chips.

“Broad-based advertising is expensive. It is not good for us,” Meyer said.