Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) is a U.S. technology firm specializing in the development of computer processors. The company’s main products include microprocessors, embedded processors, and graphic processing units (GPUs). Headquartered in Santa Clara, California, the company was incorporated in 1969 by Jerry Sanders, along with seven of his colleagues from Fairchild Semiconductor, a company that a year prior had seen one of its employees leave to co-found the semiconductor company Intel. In 2020, AMD's revenue amounted to 9.76 billion U.S. dollars: 2020 is also a year that saw the company record a net income of 2.49 billion U.S. dollars. AMD’s expenditure on research and development (R&D) in 2020 reached 1.98 billion U.S. dollars as it looks to strengthen its product offering.
AMD’s business segments
AMD’s business can be broken down into two reportable segments: “Computing and Graphics” and “Enterprise, Embedded and Semi-Custom". The “Computing and Graphics” segment primarily includes desktop and notebook processors, discrete and integrated GPUs, data center and professional GPUs, and development services. The “Enterprise, Embedded and Semi-Custom” segment includes server and embedded processors, technology for game consoles, and semi-custom system-on-chips (SoCs). Examples of the company’s semi-custom SoC products can be found in the latest PlayStation and Xbox game consoles.
AMD’s specialized markets
Along with their range of mobile and desktop processors, as well as gaming and professional graphics card products, AMD has continued to expand its presence in the data center and high-performance computing (HPC) markets. To support AMD’s growth across these key markets and more, the firm announced the acquisition of Xilinx, the U.S. technology company that specializes in processing platforms, notably field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) and programmable SoCs. The deal, valued at 35 billion U.S. dollars, would allow AMD to further compete with other firms in supplying chips for data centers, particularly for cloud computing and machine learning activities.
AMD’s competitors in the central processing unit (CPU) market include Intel who, like AMD, develop x86 processors, with competition also coming from other major tech firms developing alternative processor chips using Arm-based architecture. In the discrete and integrated graphics markets, AMD is again rivaled by Intel, in addition to fellow U.S. technology firm, Nvidia, who also offer products designed for the data center and HPC markets. In September 2020, Nvidia announced that it had reached an agreement with SoftBank Group Corp to purchase Arm Limited in a transaction worth 40 billion U.S. dollars - the largest semiconductor industry acquisition in history, and one that is likely to test both AMD and Intel’s status in the processor markets going forward.
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