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For AMD’s Commercial PC Head, Patience Begets Ryzen Pro Growth

Dylan Martin

In an interview with CRN, Matthew Unangst, senior director of AMD’s commercial client and workstation business, talks about the work it takes to convince large organizations to switch to PCs using the chipmaker’s Ryzen Pro processors.

‘It's About Steady, Consistent Growth’

AMD is making headway against Intel in the commercial PC market as Fortune 1000 companies and public sector customers adopt fleets of PCs with its processors. But convincing such organizations to switch from Intel-based computers sometimes means years of waiting and a whole lot of patience.

“The commercial market is not one that’s driven by bursts. It’s not these quick-turn types of ’here now, gone tomorrow’ opportunities,” said Matthew Unangst, senior director of AMD’s commercial client and workstation business, in an interview with CRN from earlier this year.

[Related: AMD Hires Tech Data Vet Marty Bauerlein To Lead VAR Business ]

Instead, Unangst said, it can take years for organizations to evaluate PCs running AMD’s Ryzen Pro CPUs before they decide to make a large volume purchase of AMD-based systems. It’s a big decision for organizations to make, given the importance of not just performance but also the silicon-based security and management features that many commercial customers now expect, areas where AMD is now providing solid competition against Intel, according to Unangst.

“It’s about building customer mindshare. It’s about proving that you’ve got the right technology. And we’re seeing customers come on board now that we’ve been engaging with for a couple years. They’ve been evaluating, evaluating, evaluating and now they’re ready to pull the trigger,” he said. “And so it’s not this step function uptake all of a sudden. It’s about steady, consistent growth, quarter-over-quarter, and making sure that we’re delivering the products and the capabilities that our customers want.”

AMD CEO Lisa Su said in late October that the chipmaker experienced year-over-year growth for the commercial PC business in the third quarter thanks to customer wins in the public sector as well as with technology, energy and automotive customers in the Fortune 1000. The company also saw “strong growth” in the workstation market with its Threadripper Pro CPUs, she added.

This contributed to double-digit year-over-year growth for AMD’s client computing revenue in the third quarter. It also helped the chipmaker reach 24.6 percent share in the x86 CPU market against Intel, the highest it’s been since 2006, according to Mercury Research.

In his interview with CRN, Unangst talked about why AMD is winning business from large commercial customers, how the chipmaker is putting a greater emphasis on collaboration and security with its new Ryzen Pro 5000 CPUs, how AMD is working with developers to optimize software on its CPUs and where he sees opportunities for desktop PCs in the commercial market.

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