So much for the feel-good-lovin' in personal computing. As soon as direct-seller Dell(Nasdaq: DELL)raised industry hopes by projecting an 8% to 9% spike in unit shipments, Advanced Micro Devices(NYSE: AMD) let the air out of the optimism.

The chip maker is at it again. As the world's No. 2 microprocessor company, AMD is now talking analysts off their $614 million third-quarter revenue target. A lack of demand, made worse by hard hits on the company's high-end, high-margin chip business, is to blame for AMD's expectation of a substantial loss on just $500 million in revenue.

It wasn't paradise for the company even before it got hosed down. Before the latest talk down that now finds Wall Street scrambling to extend the profitability finish line, AMD was projected to continue to report losses until at least 2004. What's troubling here is that we're back to the days of densely foggy corporate visibility. In July, AMD expected to show sequential top-line improvement for the quarter. It's not going to happen.

We knew Dell was a unique case. Its gains were made at the market-share expense of others. While market watchers can cross their fingers and hope Intel(Nasdaq: INTC) fares better -- widening its substantial lead over AMD -- we all know how assumptions have been burned before. AMD is still holding the match.