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AMD Businesses The Almighty Buck Linux

AMD To Lay Off 10% of Global Workforce 224

Posted by samzenpus
from the end-of-the-line dept.
Luyseyal writes "Advanced Micro Devices Inc. slashed its global employment by 1,400 jobs Thursday as the company seeks to boost profits and re-balance its work force to pursue new product areas. This amounts to over 11% of its global workforce, including Mark Langsdorf, who often posts AMD patches to the Linux Kernel Mailing List."
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AMD To Lay Off 10% of Global Workforce

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  • I guess ... (Score:5, Funny)

    by PPH (736903) on Thursday November 03, 2011 @07:06PM (#37941794)

    ... they'll just have to overclock the rest.

  • Bonus time. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RyanFenton (230700) on Thursday November 03, 2011 @07:16PM (#37941946)

    Expect to see EXTREMELY large executive bonuses come December.

    It is a system that makes sense in one way - shareholders simply want maximized return on money, and shareholders in amalgam play the role of idiots without an interest in future of the company willing to pay money for a stake and a vote.

    So, in return for promise of transforming the company in an idiotic direction that sounds good from the perspective of shareholder marketing, the shareholders then provide bonuses to the management.

    Thus solving the problem once and for all. ONCE AND FOR ALL.

    Ryan Fenton

    • So am I an asshole for making a note to check out AMD as an investment opportunity?

      • by lgarner (694957)
        No. But most likely this news is already incorporated into the share price (I know the market is closed now), so this may or may not be a good time to buy.
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Dunbal (464142) *
          Yeah, he needs to learn that trading on "news" is possibly even worse than trading completely at random. Besides if you look at the past 13 years of the stock market, you are just as likely to make money in the next 5 years or so by buying stock as you are by selling it. The market has been jogging in place since 1998.
        • So I _am_ an asshole. Just not for the reason I was hoping. Oh, well. It's a start.

      • by artg (24127)
        Why would you invest in a company that has lost confidence in it's own future ?
      • Re:Bonus time. (Score:4, Interesting)

        by jd (1658) <imipak&yahoo,com> on Thursday November 03, 2011 @07:56PM (#37942326) Homepage Journal

        No, but you might be a poor investor. Yes, it'll boost immediate returns but only by sacrificing long-term benefits. The benefit will be brief. It's things like this that are why investment is almost entirely cognitive illusion [guardian.co.uk] and not based on skill or rational thought. The ones who are any good work along selective inaction. Responding to the market is the worst thing you can do.

      • by Dunbal (464142) *
        Sure, if you like to short stock. AMD can't seem to stop sucking for the past few years. They almost ate Intel's lunch, but he with the deepest pockets wins. Too bad that now they will take ATI with them if they go under.
      • As far as I know, they're not issuing new shares. If you buy AMD stocks... not a single penny of that goes to AMD unless it's AMD selling the share itself. You'd just be buying an old share that's already in circulation.

        What is accomplished in buying an AMD share from the stock market though is to show confidence in AMD as a company. This has a short term impact of helping to increase the value of the share enough to make it so that the controlling shareholders in the organization will not say things like "
        • by unixisc (2429386)
          I don't think that Intel has much to gain from buying AMD. As it is, the entire semiconductor sector is now commoditized, and there's not much of a future there. As you noted, the biggest threat to Intel is ARM, but Intel still has the PC market to itself, and buying AMD won't do squat to either help nor hurt it. Only thing that can hurt Intel is a paradigm shift to ARM on PCs - which can happen if MS ports Windows 8 and major applications to ARM. But given that they didn't do that w/ Windows NT, I don'
        • now that Microsoft is porting Windows to ARM,

          Sure MS has "ported windows to ARM" but IIRC they are planning to make windows 8 arm metro only and will not be implementing any form of compatibility layer for running x86 apps on it. So unless everyone suddenly ports their apps to metro/arm the windows port won't really help arm's prospects on the desktops.

      • by tehcyder (746570)

        So am I an asshole for making a note to check out AMD as an investment opportunity?

        I'm not sure what sort of a portfolio of investments you could build if you excluded any company that had ever made workers redundant.

    • Re:Bonus time. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by peragrin (659227) on Thursday November 03, 2011 @07:34PM (#37942118)

      No it doesn't make sense.

      I am going to fire a bunch of people to save x millions of dollars over the next 3-5 years but right now I am going to pay out x millions (yea it is often a similar number) right now to give a bonus to a multi millionaire who doesn't need it.

      The worst part is that next year they pay the bonus out again, and again all while the company loses money.

      Instead of firing people to pay out bonuses. why not do something simple like cut upper management salary by 50%, and automatically save 3 or 5x right away. But you almost never here about a CEO or board, or congress who is willing to put the company(or country) before their own salary.

      • Re:Bonus time. (Score:4, Interesting)

        by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Thursday November 03, 2011 @07:48PM (#37942260) Homepage Journal

        Instead of firing people to pay out bonuses. why not do something simple like cut upper management salary by 50%

        In the prosperous 1960s, CEOs made about 30x the salary of the average worker for the same company.

        Today, it goes higher than 1000x.

        Corporate profits are up, worker incomes are down. That is not an economic system that is sustainable.

        And, "the market" applauds when the prime minister of Greece announces that no, the Greek people won't have a say in their future after all. All you have to do is turn on the news tonight, any channel from Fox to NPR to hear the economic elite talk about how pleased they are that the people won't have a say in their future. It's stunning, really, to hear how out of whack our system has become thanks to the laissez-faire, supply-side, "trickle-down" economics that have been the policy of every US government since 1980.

        It's the kind of intractable, illogical, unjust mess that can make people very angry.

        • Re:Bonus time. (Score:4, Insightful)

          by inviolet (797804) <slashdot&ideasmatter,org> on Thursday November 03, 2011 @08:00PM (#37942384) Journal

          And, "the market" applauds when the prime minister of Greece announces that no, the Greek people won't have a say in their future after all. All you have to do is turn on the news tonight, any channel from Fox to NPR to hear the economic elite talk about how pleased they are that the people won't have a say in their future.

          Not all statements are correct. Not all opinions are wise or even meaningful. Asking for economic advice from Greek citizens, more than 50% of whom are collecting a check for parasitic employment in a comically bloated public sector of a dead economy, is unlikely to yield anything useful.

          In fact, left to their own devices, most citizens (not merely Greeks) will make short-sighted short-term-pain-minimizing decisions that will eventually wreck their culture's pattern. Democracy exists as a check on tyranny, NOT as a source of omniscience.

          • Re:Bonus time. (Score:5, Insightful)

            by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Thursday November 03, 2011 @08:36PM (#37942744) Homepage Journal

            Not all statements are correct. Not all opinions are wise or even meaningful. Asking for economic advice from Greek citizens, more than 50% of whom are collecting a check for parasitic employment in a comically bloated public sector of a dead economy, is unlikely to yield anything useful.

            OK, I noticed that yesterday and today there were two national polls taken that show if the elections were held today, the Democrats would take back the House of Representatives and Obama would be re-elected. Do you believe that the elections should be cancelled because you don't believe that decision is wise or meaningful?

            Greece is called the birthplace of democracy. Isn't it a little bit ironic that today in Greece it is announced that no, the people should not have a voice in their future because they have a stake in the outcome of the vote?

            Every one of us has a stake in the output of elections. We benefit or are hurt to varying degrees. We vote based upon our own interests.

            Should we just toss the constitution and go back to having only white male landowners vote because their vote is more "correct" and "meaningful"? Or will we have a system where people have some say in the way they are governed?

            In fact, left to their own devices, most citizens (not merely Greeks) will make short-sighted short-term-pain-minimizing decisions that will eventually wreck their culture's pattern.

            Since all corporations make "short-sighted short-term-pain-minimizing decisions that will eventually wreck their culture's pattern" then you must agree that they should not be allowed to participate in elections at any level, including financially. Especially since corporations are not citizens.

            • by evilviper (135110)

              Greece is called the birthplace of democracy. Isn't it a little bit ironic that today in Greece it is announced that no, the people should not have a voice in their future because they have a stake in the outcome of the vote?

              No, it's not ironic at all, as greece most certainly is a functioning and healthy democracy.

              What you're talking about is DIRECT democracy (also known as "mob rule"), which, while it has some pros, has far more cons. Voting for representatives, who then make decisions for you, is still

          • by Dunbal (464142) *

            more than 50% of whom are collecting a check for parasitic employment in a comically bloated public sector of a dead economy

            The German economy is not a dead economy. Oh wait, what?

            • Re:Bonus time. (Score:5, Interesting)

              by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Thursday November 03, 2011 @08:51PM (#37942878) Homepage Journal

              The German economy is not a dead economy. Oh wait, what?

              You make a very good point, friend. German workers retire earlier than Greek workers and the German economy is even more worker-friendly than the southern-European governments. They are every bit as "socialist" as France or Italy or Greece or Sweden, yet they are strong enough to lead Europe economically.

              They one big difference is that Greece doesn't tax its rich people and Germany does. In fact, there are a bigger percentage of millionaires and billionaires with Greek residency as any other EU country just for that reason.

              • by LostMyBeaver (1226054) on Friday November 04, 2011 @03:53AM (#37945092)
                There's a huge difference between Greece and Germany other than the system itself. It's the Mediterranean syndrome. I've been to multiple areas of Greece several times. I have been to many cities in Germany and have worked with Germans for years. I have been to many western and central European countries and there are some things which are just plain obvious and any northern Italian will gladly tell you it's true.

                The further south you get in Europe, the lower your motivation seems to be. Just last month I was in Crete and I'm not joking, all the frigging stores close in the middle of the day and all the coffee shops and bars fill up. Drivers of trucks on the island stop driving in the middle of the day and stop to have a glass of stong wine or moonshine. The only people working on the entire island at that time of day is the restaurant staff.

                It is similar in many places in Spain as well. Malta..... well let's not bother with Malta and Gozo. Southern Italy as well.

                On the other hand, if you go to Germany, from the time the day starts, you work and you're efficient. People take pride in their efforts. They set standards for themselves which are high and they achieve the goals they set for themselves. Germany's biggest problem is the cleanliness of their cities. People don't walk the extra 3 steps to make it to a trash can, but there are a lot of workers cleaning up the streets most of the time, so it's not that big of a problem.

                Sure taxing the rich would help a bit in Greece, but size of the numbers we're talking about in Greece, if you taxed the entire top 5% of the country a total of 25% of their gross worth each year, it wouldn't touch it. The problems are much bigger than that and they would have to fix it by making people actually change their ways. The goal isn't to tax the people themselves but to produce things in a way which would bring money into the country. Closing down the parasitic tourist industry which barely works in Greece would be a great start.

                Nearly every island in Greece is supported by the tourist industry which exists for about half the year. A waiter at a restaurant I frequented in Crete let me know that his personal income after tips is 12,000 euro per year. He works 14 hours a day 6 days a week during the tourist season to accomplish this and he's highly motivated and a hard worker. Problem is, when the winter comes, he uses his savings during that time for food and necessities and then uses oil he produces in his parents green house to heat his apartment on their property.

                These establishments are supported by hotels built, maintained and later abandoned by owners in other countries. These companies exploit cheap labor and build these massive resorts at disgustingly low rate and perform all transactions outside of Greece to avoid paying the Greek taxes and costs of maintaining the money in multiple countries. They fly people from richer countries into Greece using their own airlines (or from other companies similar to their own like Thomas Cook) and their excuse is that they're bringing tourist money to Greece and helping the economy. The problem is, when the economy strengthens in a given area, the resort company practically closes down the last hotel and builds a new one further down the beach where the local workers are willing to work for less money. They don't totally abandon their old hotels, but they'll attempt to sell them to lesser resort companies which have a lower level of patrons with less purchasing power.

                These resorts also do everything they can to make a closed environment where they cater to a specific nationality. So the German hotels have German restaurants with German beer and German speaking staff. The Scandinavian hotels have Swedish food with Swedish speaking staff and Swedish convenience stores. They do this so that their guests will be less likely to spend their money outside of the hotel and instead spend a great deal more inside of the hotel. They also attempt to build these hotels as far as possible from cities. Th
          • by citizenr (871508)

            In fact, left to their own devices, most citizens (not merely Greeks) will make short-sighted short-term-pain-minimizing decisions that will eventually wreck their culture's pattern. Democracy exists as a check on tyranny, NOT as a source of omniscience.

            Yes, like Iceland did. Just look how bad it turned out for them ... oh wait, it DIDNT.

        • by Dunbal (464142) *
          The "market" is paying less attention to Greece than the news media would have you believe. Other things like Bernanke's announcement of QE3 (sorry they call it accommodation now), increased productivity (+3.1%) and factory orders (+0.3%) have much more impact on the market than Greece. Have to buy now before printing-press driven inflation sends prices up even further, especially when the promise of more cheap money is on the horizon. But all the press sees is the "drama" in Greece. And of course this work
        • That referendum is a joke. Asking the people if they want external help *after* they accepted billions of Euros from the IMF and fucking up the economy with their demands?

          The Greeks are fucked (and so are we, the Portuguese). They, like us, will spend the next decades slave laboring to their news masters until the debt is paid.

        • That is because top CEO positions are quite rare and difficult.

          This is the free market at work, and is a corollary of individual freedom.

          Where you should direct your ire, is at large gov entities: Freddie/Fannie, Fed Res, IRS, DHS, DOD, etc. Those are the leeches destroying our economy.

          Not CEOs.

          • by syousef (465911)

            Where you should direct your ire, is at large gov entities: Freddie/Fannie, Fed Res, IRS, DHS, DOD, etc. Those are the leeches destroying our economy.

            Not CEOs.

            Ha hahaha HAHAHAHA

            I haven't laughed so hard in an age. Greedy CEOs who literally make millions in salary increases and bonus the same day they shaft their workforce aren't the problem. It is those meddling government men......and pigs fly QANTAS. Or rather run the damn airline.

          • by Lakitu (136170)

            how do you think all of those large government entities you listed are destroying the economy?

            If you believe that they are, which you seem to, then it should be obvious that they are destroying the economy basically by funneling money to large corporations at taxpayer expense. Large corporations are, of course, run by "greedy CEOs", who use their undue influence to make sure they are funneled lots of money at taxpayer expense.

        • by bloodhawk (813939)
          source please? While I agree upper management is way overpayed, from what I can see the average is still around 30-50 times. seriously what companies are paying 1000x? at that rate even the less highly skilled industries would have to be paying close to 100 million or more per CEO?
        • by rrohbeck (944847)

          Instead of firing people to pay out bonuses. why not do something simple like cut upper management salary by 50%

          In the prosperous 1960s, CEOs made about 30x the salary of the average worker for the same company.

          Today, it goes higher than 1000x.

          Corporate profits are up, worker incomes are down. That is not an economic system that is sustainable.

          George Mobus [typepad.com] has a hypothesis about that.

        • by AmiMoJo (196126)

          Corporate profits are up, worker incomes are down. That is not an economic system that is sustainable.

          Not just economically, socially as well. Remember when one person could provide for a family? That meant that the other person was able to not work and be a full time parent. Now we have problems with children's behaviour and have to prop up families where both parents work with benefits and subsidised child care just to make bringing up the next generation feasible for an average family.

      • by Dunbal (464142) *

        why not do something simple like cut upper management salary by 50%, and automatically save 3 or 5x right away.

        And that way upper management will all quit and go work somewhere else, and the company won't have managers left (except of course the bad ones who can't go anywhere else). Believe it or not, management is actually an important part of a company. They don't just sit on their asses all day and tell people to get to work on time.

        • by rtb61 (674572)

          The question is how much are they worth. Are they worth 1,000 times the cost of the labour actually doing the work and earning the profits, keeping in mind management is a overhead not a profit centre and 1,000 additional worker could be earning a profit. It is easy to see how corporate executive remuneration has been corrupted via collusion and multiple appearances of the same psychopathic executives faces on the boards of multiple companies.

          • by Dunbal (464142) *

            The question is how much are they worth.

            The problem with talent is that the rate is set by your competitor - not by you. It's not how much is it worth to your company - it's how much is your competitor willing to pay. Certainly management is worth the value of the whole company, because the whole company would cease to exist without it. That's the difference really between line workers and management. You can pretty much be guaranteed homogenity across factory workers - their skills are largely dependent on culture and education of the society yo

            • by rtb61 (674572)

              That would have to either the funniest or most psychopathic response I have ever had. It's like government bailouts have never happened (banks, savings and loans, car manufacturers) or "golden parachute" is an unknown term or "dotbomb" never heard of it. It is becoming pretty apparent psychopathic corporate executives are only interested in creating an illusion of how well the companies they are running are doing, sucking a huge salary out of investors, creating a complete insane you are fired package for

              • by Dunbal (464142) *

                Then don't invest in corporations.

                Seriously though I agree with you that a lack of accountability is what is driving the inequities in the system. The fact that shareholders, who are the (initial) investors, have absolutely no say in the day to day operation of the corporation but rather elect people to do this for them by proxy, opens the corporate assets to be pilfered for personal gain, just like the people's assets are pilfered by politicians. When access to a lot of money is too easy, that money is j

        • Re:Bonus time. (Score:4, Interesting)

          by peragrin (659227) on Thursday November 03, 2011 @09:30PM (#37943126)

          never said it wasn't. managers and especially good mangers are tough to find.

          however no one is worth 1,000 times the janitor. without whom the place literally turns to shit. No one is worth 800 times the salesmen who actual drive the profits. or the workers without whom your orders don't actually get filled.

          For this Circuit city is my favorite punching bag. They fired all their top salesmen, to save money hired new people, paid out bonuses at like 75% of the money they saved by firing people to the board, and a little over a year later declared bankruptcy.

          All so a manager can get a bonus.

          that is the skill set your defending.

        • by timeOday (582209)
          Theory, meet fact. [allheadlinenews.com].
  • With the disruption of technology firms in Thailand, I expect more companies to follow suit.

  • Sacking developers (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tomato42 (2416694) on Thursday November 03, 2011 @07:21PM (#37941994)
    Sacking one of the people responsible for good Linux performance on servers is not just stupid... it's cutting the branch which you're sitting on.
    • by jd (1658)

      I wonder if the "final" set of patches from AMD include an easter-egg encouraging you to buy Intel.

    • by no-body (127863)

      Long term, the goons sitting in the lofty cream layer will notice more and more that their branches are getting thin.
      Richard Wolff has some good facts how this come together - or not, as it stands right now.

      http://www.alternativeradio.org/products/wolr002 [alternativeradio.org]
      The MP3 dl is $ 2, I am not affiliated with them.

  • by mirix (1649853)

    Hope that AMD pulls through, intel fanboys should too.

    Remember the early PIII era? What fun that was, until AMD got competitive again.

    • Remember the early PIII era? What fun that was, until AMD got competitive again.

      As far as I'm concerned Intel went straight from Pentium 2 to Core 2. Whatever that crap was in between, it sure wasn't the product of an industry leader.

      • by Khyber (864651)

        Umm, Tualatin did rather well.

      • by mirix (1649853)

        Ah, I thought PIII was pretty solid, it was just bloody expensive. I seem to recall the frequencies going up faster and the prices being cut more often once the athlon started to get a decent chunk of the market.

        P4/netburst was a shitsack, though, especially the early ones. IIRC the 1GHz or 1.13GHz, whatever was top of the line at the time, PIIIs were still blowing the first gen P4s out of the water... pathetic.

      • by cnettel (836611)

        Remember the early PIII era? What fun that was, until AMD got competitive again.

        As far as I'm concerned Intel went straight from Pentium 2 to Core 2. Whatever that crap was in between, it sure wasn't the product of an industry leader.

        Coppermine, the little L2 that could. First released just before the Athlon and staying competitive by rapidly racing from 500 MHz or so up to 1 GHz.

  • by sqrt(2) (786011) on Thursday November 03, 2011 @08:33PM (#37942714) Journal

    I encourage everyone to read The Lights In the Tunnel, as a primer on the coming age of technologically driven systemic unemployment.

    Think of an idealized chip factory/company. The machines run themselves, AI systems design ever better version; raw material goes in one side and pallets of CPUs come out the other side.

    This is a 100% capital intensive business, and has almost zero labor requirements. We're not there yet, obviously, but every year we'll get closer. Companies will be able to do more with less workers, prices will drop, and supply will be limited only by how much resources you have to turn into chips. That's ONE side of the equation. The other side is that such an efficient and streamlined business is destined to quickly go bankrupt.

    In a capitalist economy, every worker is also a consumer. There will be no other sector of the economy to shunt those unemployed workers to, especially not at the level they were employed at previously, because all the other businesses have gone capital-intensive too. Strangely, the most secure jobs will be the lowest paid and traditionally least desirable jobs such as janitors, cleaners, cooks, and other services. It's actually easier to build an automated chip factory than it is to produce a robot that can do everything a human janitor can do. When you lay off a worker, you're also getting rid of a potential customer. Now, one business doing this when all the others don't would benefit and outcompete the others. So to keep up, they all have to become more efficient (which in modern times means becoming less labor intensive). Each business doing what's best for itself in isolation ends up ruining everything for everyone. This is a classic tragedy of the commons scenario, but it's applied to the mass market itself as the common good, something that most mainstream economists, politicians, and citizens don't yet accept.

    • by dbIII (701233)

      This is a 100% capital intensive business, and has almost zero labor requirements.

      I've been in a couple of industries very close to that - steelmaking and electricity generation. In both industries there are many examples of bad management fucking things up by obsessing over wages and turning profitable operations into abandoned buildings.
      If something works and you want it to continue to you should learn which bits keep it working before you cut it to pieces.

  • by serbanp (139486) on Thursday November 03, 2011 @09:18PM (#37943054)
    From TFA:

    "This comes after the arrival of a new chief executive and it is after the successful introduction of new products, so it is about right-sizing the company," said analyst Cody Acree with Williams Financial Group in Austin.

    "You don't cut until you have done all the work you need to get new products out," he said. "But once you have them out and have identified what you need to do to keep moving forward, then you have more of a reason to go ahead and take job actions. You don't want to make the cuts before the CEO gets in, and you don't want to make the cuts before you get the products out. Now that those two are passed, it is time to get the cost structure in line with the rest of the fabless semiconductor industry"

    This a**hole talks about the layoffs as one would discuss tree pruning. I guess that the whole "anal-yst" trade group is full of psychopaths, devoid of any humanity.

    • AMD is now a fabless company. That means what it does is DESIGN CHIPS. When Hector took over, the K8 design was so far along all he did was focus on marketing it. That's an easy job when your new design is better than the competition. He didn't focus on maintaining fab capability and AMD is now a full generation behind Intel. He didn't focus on new design, so AMD is now behind Intel. So now that they're fabless, the only thing they do is design (and drivers for the GPU side). So this new guy apparently thin
    • by AmiMoJo (196126)

      Interesting that their latest product, Bulldozer, is shit. Maybe the engineers saw this coming and the good ones left, leaving the rest to struggle on apathetically until it was out the door.

    • by N1AK (864906)
      You prune a tree to keep to keep what is left healthy and doing what it should, if you don't you risk it dying or getting in the way and needing to be cut down. The only reason the same analogy is remotely contentious with companies and lay-offs is because the things you prune are sentient. I worked for a company that was bought and shut down. It couldn't turn a workable profit, in part because it was over-staffed and the pay and benefits were excessive. A cleaner earned over £40,000pa (admittedly by

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