NEW DELHI, Sep 08
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.
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