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AMD has released its annual earnings report, and the news for the chipmaker is mixed but looking up. For the year, AMD saw revenue drop 2% from 2012 (from $5.42 billion to $5.3 billion), but the company had a solid fourth quarter in 2013 with $1.59 billion revenue which marked a 38% year-over-year jump from 2012.

Much of that revenue came from sales of Microsoft’s Xbox One and Sony’s PlayStation 4. (Lest anyone forget that both of those very popular consoles run on AMD semi-custom hardware, that was a big win for the company.) AMD says that altogether, the Microsoft and Sony sold 7 million gaming consoles in two months.

Sony PS4

In addition, AMD did well in its Graphics and Visual Solutions segment, seeing a net revenue of $2.2 billion for the year. Along with their big get with gaming consoles, AMD scored a design win with the Apple Mac Pro, which runs AMD FirePro professional graphics. There was also a strong demand for new discrete GPUs, which AMD met with new Radeon R9, R7, and R5 M200 Series chips, which include Graphics Core Next (GCN) architecture and the Mantle API.

AMD lost some ground in 2013 with its Computing Solutions revenue, which includes all of its standalone x86 processors, APUs, chipsets, embedded processors, and dense servers. AMD chalks that up to decreased chipset and notebook shipments, which isn’t a surprise, as the industry as a whole is seeing declines there. The company's chief rival, Intel, however, is projecting flat year on year revenues in this arena.

AMD Kaveri APU

AMD is projecting a further decline on the PC side for Q1 2014, although just “in line with seasonality”, and the company also believes its graphics segment will take a dip in the first quarter coming off of a great Q4 2013 for a total revenue decrease of 16%.

However, AMD still expects to see an overall year-over-year boost in revenues. It’s likely that the new Kaveri APU (review here) design wins, which include support for true heterogenous computing, will bolster AMD’s revenues in the second half of the year.

ARM 64-bit Server Solutions On The Way

In other AMD news, its server solutions division will debut new x86 and ARM 64-bit solutions, with sampling of the latter beginning in late Q1 2014.  This will be AMD's first effort with an ARM solution and it should interesting to see the implementation and uptake in the market when it's released later this quarter.

Nice to see the recovery in certain business units for AMD but I'm wondering if Kaveri or follow-on products will make a measurable impact on their PC business this year.


Great news for AMD but...

Intel were late to the mobile general purpose computing device (smart-phone - tablet) scene but look set to join the party. And perhaps in a couple of years to be the life and soul of it. Think of a 64 bit x86 architecture device that fits in your pocket. A device, dual booting with Windows Phone or Android, along with Windows 9. WOW!

The desktop is dead. Well maybe not just yet but it's not far off. There will always be desktops for science and technology, and high end gamers. The rest of the world, perhaps 90% of the CPU/GPU/SOC/APU market will be catered for by 'good enough compute' devices that also happen to make phone calls, to call them smart-phones is a misnomer today never mind in two years time.

Intel is in a good position if it can produce SOCs that are as frugal with their fuel as ARM is today and in the future. My guess is – they will be.

Where does all this leave AMD. Kaveri looks good but at the moment too hungry to sit in a device in your pocket. I am not in the know, perhaps AMD are in the process of joining the aforementioned party but I'm not aware of it. And if they don't join this party they will inevitably shrink to specialise or even go the way of the other x86 licensees like Cyrus.