A Letter to Hector Ruiz

After I heard your speech at the American Antitrust Institute in Washington, D.C., I couldn’t believe my ears so I had to write this down. First of all, I agree that you have some valid complaints about Intel. However, you and your lawyers took it way too far. You’re making it look like Intel is forcing others not to sell your products by placing military troops at your door; which is not true.

You claimed that Intel is a monopolist and Microsoft isn’t. As far as we know, Intel is not forcing software developers to write software and games that will work only on Intel’s hardware. But … Microsoft is taking related actions toward Apple for example, so Intel and Microsoft do not appear to be in the same ‘Monopolist abuser’ league.

I really think you guys took it too far with that Intel U.S. Antitrust case. Yes, Intel is big and uses certain pressure tactics which some may break the U.S. laws; but you can’t blame them for everything. It takes two to Tango, and Intel cannot dance alone. You’re dancing with them instead of working on making better products for AMD consumers. It appears that you want to spend money on lawyers and ridiculous antitrust laws which will likely lead you nowhere.

The important thing in competition is you need to work hard to increase your companies chances of winning. If you’re sitting down and whining about your competitor, it will get you nowhere. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not here to make fun of you nor AMD. I’m here to try to help you, despite the aggressive criticism.

Instead of dedicating your time and your money to this case, concentrate on working hard to provide better products. Let’s take a look at the latest R600; we all had very high expectations about it yet after reading results, I burst into tears. Personally, I like ATI/AMD, (especially after NVIDIA tried to sue me) but I must admit that the R600 simply doesn’t cut it when compared to the 8800 series from NVIDIA. You can probably cook eggs on it due to its high temperatures (And maybe Barbeque), and the performance is a joke. Perhaps a lower pricing point instead of where it currently sits, which is too close to the GeForce 8800 GTS. Also reports that you need a small nuclear power plant to run it in Crossfire, does nothing to entice the high end users to dig into the wallet.

Take a look at your processors line – which is not bad at all. But again, there is such a mess in naminig the SKUs that like the majority of others I’m too confused. I’m a member of the press, I do receive information time to time, and I still don’t understand what the hell is going on. If the press dont get enough insight about your current product line let alone upcoming products, how the hell would the consumers know? Every two weeks I’m getting new information but I turn around and see some new products in the shop that you guys never told us about. Even though, when it comes to processors, you’re not too far behind to still offer Intel competition.

Here is my take on what your problem is!

Your marketing simply doesn’t exist, and you think the world market rotates strictly around the United States. The world is not based just on the United States or OEM’s like Dell. Stop using your time and resources on these antitrust lawsuits inside the United States, and all these system builders/suppliers. There is a big world outside of the U.S.! There are 6,555,000,000 people on earth, and only 300 million of them live in the United States of America.

Your real problem is that you failed making AMD and the Athlon into famous brands. For example, if I travel to Africa and ask someone on the street: ‘Where can I find McDonalds?’ chances are they could give me exact directions. And in McDonalds’s, if I ask for Coca-Cola and a Big Mac, they will have it for sure. Why? Because these are known brands as well. After I ate, I want to buy new shoes, and as you know already, everyone knows Nike. Do you get my point? If I ask someone about Intel or Pentium, they will probably know what I’m talking about; because these are known brands as well.

Do you know why? Because you guys never advertise! You’re not dedicating enough resources, efforts or time in other countries. Intel is out there making deals with governments and advertising on TV nonstop. How do you expect people to hear about you and your products? I have never seen an AMD ad in my country, unlike Intel’s.

Let’s admit it, most home users only use PCs for basic needs. Not everyone is experienced like us. If you ask a newbie, ‘Which processor do you want? AMD or Intel?’ They would say Intel. Why? because that’s the only processor, they have heard of. No one will buy your products if you’re not advertising and letting them know.

Just for your information, a few years ago when I worked in a hardware shop here in Israel, we had a lot trouble getting AMD products in our country, basically due to the lack of worldwide distribution lines, that again shows us weakness with your marketing and international support.

So how do you break a monopoly? Not by these lawsuits in the U.S., but by increasing the demand for AMD products. If you start working in more countries, placing advertisements in the media, open new marketing offices, you will get far more recognition. If some retailer is working only with Intel, after many user requests, they will have no choice but offers your products as well.

Every business wants to generate income with minimum costs. Every business wants to make high sales, but if 30% of their customers are demanding AMD’s products, they will have to provide it, or lose a lot of money and customers. Instead of whining about monopolies, how about you start to work on creating demand?

How much money has AMD spent on litigation since 1997?

Let the public know about your current and upcoming products. Work close with the press so they will like you, put ads in newspapers and TV stations to attract basic users; and focus on making better products. Focus on making AMD into a known brand like Coca-Cola everywhere! Not only in the United States.

As I said, You need to increase the demand, and only then will you see Intel’s empire falling down – even without U.S. Antitrust lawsuits. So please instead of crying and whining to Uncle Sam about Intel’s illegal behavior, work to fix your flaws and offer us some real competition. Don’t blame Intel for monopolist behavior; blame yourself for letting them do that, and for failing to offer international competition like you should.

Don’t forget that we are the consumers, we buy your products, we decide which processor to buy. All you need to do is to convince us/shops to pick your product, and if you’re failing to do so, you’re pushing them into Intel’s nasty hands.

Eran Badit

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