Remembering the Power of the Relationship
Now I should point out HP spoke a bit about their work with AMD and performance-per-watt but it wasnt as powerfully delivered as the Dell talk and you kind of had to dig much harder for the benefits. But in all cases the power of AMD was not in any one part, it was in the relationship.
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A string of very powerful companies were agreeing that the true value of AMD was that AMD worked with them to create unique solutions which differentiated, even from other solutions using AMD technology, and the end result is a competitive advantage they couldnt get by just buying off the shelf.
For a lot of things buying off the shelf is fine, and clearly the dominant vendor (in this case Intel who is executing better than they have in years) will generally have the advantage. But when it comes to building unique and differentiated solutions AMD would appear, based on what was said at the event and actually what Ive observed over time, to have a sustaining advantage.
Now what if AMD just got off the performance race entirely and simply focused on creating and scaling uniquely differentiated solutions for each of its customer companies? If Intel moved to match and compete in this way the results would move away from a blind race for performance most of us never really use, to more unique offerings with values and benefits that better target our just as unique needs.
I think the word innovation could stop being a semi-negative and actually become much more powerful and R&D much more important because it would be more closely tied to real needs.
In the end, I think Barcelona will be more often used because of the quality of the relationship rather than the quality of the part. And, honestly, I think we could all learn something from this. If the quality of the relationship with all of our customers is as strong as it is between AMD and its key customers, theyll ride with us through thick and thin, and if it isnt, we are constantly at risk of market shifts and competitive pressures we have less control of.
I can think of a number of vendors, one big software vendor in particular, who could see a great deal of benefit from focusing on learning this AMD lesson. In the end it is easy to run so fast we forget to remember what is truly important. This was a good reminder for me; I hope you find it as useful.