AMD Serves Up Two New Fusion Partner Tracks


The addition of the two new partner tracks comes after successful early returns for the initial phase of Fusion Partner Program, introduced last September, said AMD channel chief David Kenyon.

The first phase of the program simplified AMD's engagement with its component channel, bringing together disparate channel programs into a single one with three tiers, Select, Premier and Elite. Kenyon said that since the launch of the Fusion Partner Program, AMD had seen "an 80 percent increase in Elite and Premier component partners selling all-AMD solutions and 100 percent of our Elite component partners hit their revenue targets."

Kenyon recently sat down with to discuss AMD's Fusion Partner Program in a video interview that can be viewed here.

The next phase adds two new tracks. The software partner track targets members of AMD's software development community, which includes some 7,000 forum members on, a Web destination that had 1.6 million visits in 2009, according to the company.

Sponsored post

Like the component track, the software track has three tiers -- Select, Premier and Elite -- with benefits focused around training, business development with other software partners and various sales and marketing enablement programs.

The commercial track has just two tiers -- Select and Elite -- and is available for partners AMD defines as system distributors, commercial solution providers and commercial volume resellers. The commercial partner track blazes a new trail for AMD, according to Kenyon, because it's meant to open up relationships with distributors, resellers and integrators of branded client and server systems.

That means AMD will be offering benefits and incentives, for example, to value-added resellers of fully built and branded Hewlett-Packard or Dell computers that use AMD chips, Kenyon said. It's a part of the channel that AMD hasn't directly engaged before, and the channel chief made a point to claim that "the competition" -- read: Intel -- had no similar type of outreach to such VARs.

The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based chip maker is building on some major restructuring in recent years that has included the spin-off of its manufacturing assets, an executive shake-up and, beginning last September, an overhaul of the way it does business with its distribution channel.

The "Fusion" in the company's Fusion Partner Program refers to AMD's ongoing efforts to integrate its graphics products from ATI, acquired in 2006, with its x86 central processor and platform business. That merger, though it cost AMD dearly in a string of quarterly losses that finally ended earlier this year, could bear historic fruit with the planned first-half sampling of a processor codenamed Llano. That chip would be AMD's first "Fusion" core microprocessor, combining GPU and CPU functionality on a single die to launch a new chip category the company is calling an Accelerated Processor Unit, or APU.

As part of the march towards Fusion, AMD's channel team has also been busy bringing together the once disparate GPU and CPU sides of the chip maker's house. A large part of last September's Fusion Partner Program launch was to bring the legacy, GPU-focused ATI channel into a single stream with AMD's CPU-focused system integrator and reseller channels, making ATI-focused programs and benefits available to the CPU channel and vice-versa.

How have AMD partners responded to the overhaul? When it was launched, some were optimistic and some had a wait-and-see attitude. Several months into the new arrangement, Joe Toste, vice president of marketing at Minneapolis-based Equus Computing, said it was a good idea to combine the GPU and CPU programs to better benefit more partners.

Still, Toste said a more important accomplishment for AMD's graphics business in the channel was the chip maker's closing of the performance gap with archrival Nvidia in the past few years.

"In our business, the ATI stuff has made a strong pushback when you consider that Nvidia had dominated for such a long time in B-to-B, with Quadro. And ATI made a great comeback on performance and price," he said.

But Toste also had some advice for AMD with regards to its own OEM partners on graphics cards.

"Sometimes it's not really the technology, it's the partner you use, in this case the boardmakers," Toste said. "And we get great support from EVGA, which only makes Nvidia cards. In our opinion, ATI is somewhat burdened by less flexible board makers, at least where we're concerned."