AMD launches 750 MHz Duron, low-end PIIIs under fire

Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) has upped the stakes in the processor market with the launch of the 750 MHz Duron chip. Given the irregularity in supply of mid-performance budget chips from Intel, this launch might usher in AMD's hour of glory

Ritujoy Chakraborty

Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), the second-largest semiconductor maker in the world after Intel, has upped the stakes in the Indian sub-continent with the launch of the 750 MHz Duron chip. After the 600, 650 and 700 MHz Duron, the latest offering from AMD is positioned as a mid-range performance, value-for-money processor.

Clearly, the new Duron has Intel's lower-end Pentium IIIs in its sights. Justifiably so, considering the availability of PIIIs has been irregular in the face of growing demand. "Optimised for the value-conscious user, the 750 MHz Duron aims at reinforcing AMD's commitment to providing better processors in the value PC space, typically characterised by systems that sell for less than US $1,000," said a senior executive with AMD, South East Asia.

Duron - Latin for durability - is a derivative of AMD's internationally successful high-performance Athlon processor. However, the Athlon had met with a lukewarm response in the sub-continent since its launch in early 2000. Incidentally, AMD has been in India since 1995, a fact not known to many outside the IT industry. Yet, the company's fortunes here mirror its woeful tale in other parts of the world - a great product floundering due to the lack of proper marketing.

The figures speak for themselves - in five years of testing the waters in India with its K6 and K7 processors, and lately the Athlon and the Duron, AMD has been able to carve out a mere 15-per cent market share in the SOHO (Small Office Home) segment. In contrast, market leader Intel dominates with a staggering 80-per cent-plus market share, the rest distributed between National Semiconductors and others.

So what ails AMD? Quite simply, a proper brick-and-mortar presence in the country. Realizing its lacuna, in March this year, AMD announced plans to invest US $75,000 in setting up marketing and liaison offices in 15 cities across the country. The $2.9-billion multinational has also been modest to a fault in its advertising efforts. While PC vendors have been aware of AMD's value-for-money technical prowess, the chip-maker has failed to successfully communicate this to the SOHO user.

Now, with a wide range of processors catering to almost every segment (including servers), AMD has set itself a target of capturing 30-per cent market share in the country by the end of 2001. Possible, nevertheless a trifle optimistic, considering not many signs of that much-needed thrust in advertising and marketing is visible.

© 2000 agencyfaqs!

© 2000 agencyfaqs!