AMD's ATI Charge For Q4 Is A Whopping $1.77 Billion

Leaving aside total net charges of $1.68 billion for the quarter, AMD managed to come relatively close to breaking even on an operational level. The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based chipmaker reported a non-GAAP operating income loss of just $9 million, compared to its loss of $148 million in that balance-sheet category in the third quarter. AMD lost a total of $3.38 billion, or $6.06 per share, across the board in 2007.

During an earnings call Thursday, AMD executives were upbeat about turning things around in 2008, with CFO Bob Rivet proclaiming the company to be "maniacally focused on a return to profitability."

AMD has produced repaired silicon for its delayed and buggy quad-core Opteron devices, according to CEO Hector Ruiz. He said engineering samples of those server/workstation processors would be delivered to OEM and channel customers in "two to three weeks," and predicted the first systems built on the chips to start hitting the market in the late first quarter. On the desktop side, president and COO Dirk Meyer said AMD would spend the first quarter focused on bringing its unique triple-core CPUs to market.

AMD increased gross margin sequentially in Q4, with a three-point gain to 44 percent "driven by increased shipments of new products, higher average selling prices and cost containment actions," according to Rivet. The company's goal of attaining 50 percent gross margins by the latter half of this year was "predicated on new products across the board, followed by 45nm later in the year," Meyer added.

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Just as Intel CEO Paul Otellini did during his company's earnings call Tuesday, Ruiz commented on the current climate of anxiety in the overall economy.

"We are cognizant of all of the trepidation that's going on in the economy," he said, but predicted that the microprocessor industry would experience "a healthy rate of growth" even in a downturn due to rapidly increasing demand for IT infrastructure from emerging markets and steady growth elsewhere.