Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

AMD Wants to Be Tech's Next Apple-Sized Turnaround

By Alex Planes - Apr 9, 2013 at 6:30PM

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More

Don't make big promises if you don't have bigger plans.

You certainly can't call Advanced Micro Devices (AMD 1.63%) a company of small ambitions. Last week, AMD vice president Roy Taylor told hardware blog Bit-Tech that his company might soon follow in the footsteps of Apple (AAPL 0.11%) and IBM (IBM 0.44%), two companies in the tech industry with the most legendary turnaround stories.

The upside for investors would be massive. For comparison, let's take a look at how much Apple shares have grown in value since the launch of the first iMac in 1998, which was the first major new product of the second Steve Jobs era:

AAPL Total Return Price Chart

AAPL Total Return Price data by YCharts.

And here's IBM's boom following its 1993 hiring of Lou Gerstner, who's frequently credited with spearheading IBM's turnaround:

IBM Total Return Price Chart

IBM Total Return Price data by YCharts.

Pretty impressive! So, how exactly does Roy Taylor expect AMD to follow in these deep footsteps? Here's the relevant quote from Bit-Tech:

But, thinks Taylor, with the company's new generation of APUs (a [central processor] and [graphics processor] combined on one chip), it is well set for the future. A large part of this will be driven by AMD having secured deals with Nintendo (NTDOY -3.32%) and Sony to have its APUs in the Wii U and PS4 (and it's long rumoured the upcoming new [Microsoft] Xbox will also feature an AMD chip). With these processors in place there is significant incentive for developers to work hard on making their games and apps run well on AMD hardware, which in turn may drive uptake of AMD [chips] in other sectors of the market.

Chips in consoles. For reference, the entire lifetime global sales of the current-gen consoles (counting the original Wii as well as the Wii U for Nintendo) to date is roughly 250 million units. The Xbox 360 has been out since 2005. The Wii and the PS3 have been out since 2006. Nearly 210 million smartphones were sold in 2012. Over 350 million PCs sold that same year. And you want to focus on a segment of technology that's not only sold less than a tenth as many units per year as these two primary groups combined, but one that's got increasing competition from mobile devices as well? The Wii U, which is the only true "next-gen" console available, is already showing disappointing sales on the market. The original Wii sold over 7 million units in its first year on the market. Nintendo's already cut first-year estimates for the Wii U to around 4 million units.

It's one thing to be ambitious. But if you're going to shoot for the moon, don't try to do it with a rocket that's already failed to lift off the launch pad. Steve Jobs understood that. So did Lou Gerstner. That's why Apple and IBM today bear almost no resemblance to the companies that originally handed those executives the reins. AMD's chip competitors have shifted with the market. Will AMD's executives realize that they need to shift as well, or is their strategy going to keep the company stuck in the old ways?

Invest Smarter with The Motley Fool

Join Over 1 Million Premium Members Receiving…

  • New Stock Picks Each Month
  • Detailed Analysis of Companies
  • Model Portfolios
  • Live Streaming During Market Hours
  • And Much More
Get Started Now

Stocks Mentioned

Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. Stock Quote
Advanced Micro Devices, Inc.
AMD
$92.65 (1.63%) $1.49
Apple Inc. Stock Quote
Apple Inc.
AAPL
$140.52 (0.11%) $0.16
International Business Machines Corporation Stock Quote
International Business Machines Corporation
IBM
$134.39 (0.44%) $0.59
Nintendo Co., Ltd. Stock Quote
Nintendo Co., Ltd.
NTDOY
$56.46 (-3.32%) $-1.94
Microsoft Corporation Stock Quote
Microsoft Corporation
MSFT
$262.52 (1.12%) $2.90
Sony Corporation Stock Quote
Sony Corporation
SONY
$88.29 (-0.83%) $0.74

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

Related Articles

Motley Fool Returns

Motley Fool Stock Advisor

Market-beating stocks from our award-winning service.

Stock Advisor Returns
322%
 
S&P 500 Returns
116%

Calculated by average return of all stock recommendations since inception of the Stock Advisor service in February of 2002. Returns as of 05/25/2022.

Discounted offers are only available to new members. Stock Advisor list price is $199 per year.

Premium Investing Services

Invest better with The Motley Fool. Get stock recommendations, portfolio guidance, and more from The Motley Fool's premium services.