2014 corporate deathwatch


AMD seems like a bit of a stretch. They have been hurting for sure, but with two of the three major console manufacturers using their chips, it’s hard to see them going out of business anytime soon.

Radio Shack is an interesting case. Nobody knows how they are still in business, not even the CEO. There seems to be some sort of enormous corporate inertia keeping them running. Or maybe the entire corporation is a gigantic money laundering scheme?

Zynga was a company I knew was going to be dead before too long. Anybody who has played one of their games knows that the whole platform is built on bad behavior that social media companies are shutting down. You can’t behave badly for too many years before people want to leave. It’s not like they’re a monopoly or anything, there are thousands of alternative games on your typical social media platform. If you’re Verizon you can get away with that, but not a casual game company.

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In all fairness to RS, Kramer’s remark is no longer applicable. However, their old practice did keep me away for a good while (at least when I lived near a Fry’s that sold ICs, caps etc. - plus Fry’s never asked if I needed solder with that).

Yeah, it’s hard to see AMD going out of business–actually liquidating. But AMD’s market cap is only 3 billion. Someone could acquire them pretty easily, like National Semiconductor did Cyrix back in the 90s (who then sold off different non-profitable parts of it).

Three of three. You’re forgetting GPUs.

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While I know of a Radio Shack not too far from where I live at this point the only reason I’d go in there is nostalgia. As a kid I would sometimes get a card for Radio Shack’s battery-of-the-month club. Come in once a month, get a free battery.

Buying batteries was, in fact, my main reason for going to Radio Shack. I quit when they started asking for my phone number. Now there’s a place called Batteries+Bulbs. I went in once to buy batteries…and got asked for my phone number. I suspect they won’t last as long as Radio Shack did.

Strangely enough, I actually go into Radio Shack from time to time to get an (admittedly grossly overpriced) electronic component. That said, my local Shack has been really bad about keeping that cabinet stocked lately, and I’ve walked out empty handed more often than I think is reasonable. Then I order the part online and it shows up a couple of days later. Shipping makes the difference in markup a wash on cheap parts though.

Every time I go in there I wonder how they stay in business. There are a billion places to buy cellphones these days, and I have no idea what advantage Radio Shack would offer over any of them. At least at the AT&T/Verizon store you might be able to get an answer to some random question about the phone or plan.

They have not asked me for my phone number in awhile though, so at least there is that.

HTC? Wait, what? I haven’t been paying attention. I knew RIM were in the shit, but so do tribes as yet uncontacted by civilisation at this point. What’s HTC’s crack, like?

+1 WTF @ HTC.

They make nice stuff and sell pretty well, don’t they? Seems odd.

Wow, so AMD, the company that powers almost the entire gaming industry, didn’t let the NSA compromise their security (as far as we know), and outperforms Intel at every price point, is going belly-up? Seems like the invisible hand of the free market deserves another invisible round of applause.

They make nice stuff, but it doesn’t sell well.

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They’re still making a profit, but not enough of a profit for the sharemarket, huh?

I’m looking forward to this new era of corporate deaths. A lot of economic activity is re-structuring - particularly around taking out the middle-man - and as manufacturing shifts to additive (which indeed it is), unfortunately there will be many, many casualties. Like smaller, less profitable shipping firms.

It’s going to be a global effect somewhat akin to the collapse of Pittsburgh / Detroit as the relevant industries were superseded by cheaper/better options. It’s already happening - but not all bad news by a long stretch for developed economies, as new work will be created and jobs re-imported.

Developing economies can keep up, as tech is dropping fast in price, and all that’s needed is entrepreneurial will and the erosion of cultural obstacles.

Corporate Deathwatch - now there’s a term for the 21st century.

Yeah, in terms of GPUs AMD are neck and neck with Nvidia and doing some good stuff. It’s the CPU side of things that’s the problem, whereby they can’t compete with Intel at the top end, resulting in Intel sandbagging. To lose AMD from the CPU business would be a massive blow, especially as at the value end of the market their chips are a much better prospect.

AMD has lots of features, but “outperforms Intel at every price point” is definitely not one of them. They don’t even have a product to compete with at the higher price points, and at the lower ones their worse IPC and thermal characteristics tend to make any cost savings a wash over time.

While I don’t think they’re in danger of bankruptcy yet, they’re definitely having trouble keeping up with Intel. Each generation AMD is forced to discount their products even more to compete, and it’s killing the profit margins.

On the GPU side it’s the same story it has always been. AMD puts out fantastic hardware, often better than the equivalent nVidia hardware, but their drivers aren’t as good and the better hardware ends up blowing all of that performance advantage on poor optimizations and bugs. This is why ATI cards are so popular in consoles I think, because the driver issues can be ironed out over a loong time and are much less of an issue when you’re targeting exactly one platform (or two I guess) and the slightly better hardware actually gets to shine.

Ditto for Cultural Obstacle.

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