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AMD’s Terry Richardson: New Program Rewards Partners Who ‘Aggressively’ Sell AMD

Dylan Martin

‘If they choose to really understand and take the time to not only understand the AMD differentiation but start to aggressively position it, then there’s a reward,’ says AMD North America Channel Chief Terry Ricardson in an exclusive interview about the chipmaker’s new partner program.

Does this program include GPUs at all?

Today, it’s focused on CPUs, but this is the — I don’t want to call it the 1.0 version, because that kind of minimizes it, and I think it’s a really good program now — but you can expect that we’ll look at other parts of the portfolio. Without making any promises, GPUs certainly would be in scope, incentives around cloud consumption we’re looking closely at — not ready to talk about anything or launch anything — but those are just a couple of examples of how we’ll continue to make the commercial systems partner program more and more comprehensive as well as representative of where the business opportunities are, where we think partners should be spending time with our customers.

AMD’s acquisition of FPGA maker Xilinx just closed. I know this is pretty early, but have there been any talks yet about how to integrate AMD’s and Xilinx’s partner programs?

I think as part of the acquisition planning, that’s been contemplated. That’s why we were clear to refer to this as the commercial systems partner program. And just as an aside, what [IPED head] John Machado and the IPED team are helping AMD think about is the overarching AMD partner program that incorporates all the facets of our business, inclusive of Xilinx. So that’s on the to-do list.

My experience in acquisitions is you sort of leave things alone for a while, but I would expect that the current Xilinx program would just continue until further notice, and the traditional AMD programs would continue until further notice. And then at some point where there’s a harmonization, you may expect a more [conjoined program], taking the best of both.

Why would you say the new partner program is important to AMD’s competitiveness?

As I said it, we’ve seen a real surge in interest in partners wanting to understand, “Hey, what’s going on?” The narrative around the company has been very strong, whether it’s the recent product releases that we’ve made the past couple quarters, both in the data center and the client side, whether it’s the financial performance of the company, whether it’s being in the news for the Xilinx acquisition. The news on the company has been good. Certainly we have a very strong executive leadership team led by Lisa Su, who is becoming more recognized publicly.

And I think partners have a real interest in learning more, so we’ve seen just a surge in interest and having a more formal program to describe what’s available for benefits and what are the requirements and making sure that it’s a good fit for both parties if we’re going to invest time and resources in trying to build a partnership. This just gives us a framework to build the discussion.