AMD has been fighting a battle for processor supremacy with Intel for years, but it seems to be realizing it needs to compete with Qualcomm and Nvidia instead. In a San Jose Mercury News profile, AMD spokesman Mike Silverman said, "we will all need to let go of the old 'AMD versus Intel' mindset, because it won't be about that anymore." And all that effort spent going after Intel instead of developing a mobile strategy hasn't gotten AMD very far: its marketshare in PC microprocessors sits at about 19 percent, down from 23 percent in 2006, its new Bulldozer chips launched to disappointing reviews, and the company cut 1,400 jobs a few weeks ago. Intel may be able to focus on the PC microprocessor due to its marketshare and continued record earnings, but the industry is clearly shifting to mobile — even the next version of Windows will run on ARM processors.
AMD appears to be finally coming around to that mindset; the company's lack of focus on mobile was reportedly a major factor in the dismissal of CEO Dirk Meyer in January. It's easy to imagine a new strategy for AMD that looks a lot like what Nvidia did after deciding not to fight Intel anymore: pairing ARM-based processors with ATI graphics to produce a system-on-a-chip alternative to Qualcomm, Samsung, Nvidia, and Texas Instruments' ARM-based offerings. While AMD deemphasizing the x86 market would be a major shift and entering the now-booming mobile space won't be any easier, at least there's a real opportunity there. AMD's promised a February strategy update; we'll see what the chipmaker has up its sleeve.