AMD Plans Overhaul Of Partner Programs


Advanced Micro Devices is set to unveil a major restructuring of its channel partner programs in September, Channelweb.com has learned. Changes include the merging of its graphics and CPU partner tracks, according to Gary Bixler, director of worldwide channels at AMD.

Bixler, introducing the planned overhaul at last week's Everything Channel XChange conference in Washington, D.C., did not reveal a dollar figure for what he called a "significant new investment in the channel," but did say that Sunnyvale, Calif.-based AMD would increase its investment in global partner programs to the tune of "millions of dollars."

AMD was not ready to comment on whether such an investment would tilt toward more rebate opportunities, increased MDF spending or more sales representatives for partners to call on.

A large part of AMD's partner program revamp will involve tailoring benefit programs for partners based on their business models and markets served, Bixler said. That effort was somewhat inspired by the Hewlett-Packard PartnerOne model, which credentials HP partners as "elite" in dozens of business and product categories, he added. The changes to partner programs would apply to the whitebox channel, resellers and distributors of both client and server products.

At a more macro level, AMD will roll out a new unified partner strategy on the basis of "three Ps," Bixler said -- platforms, programs and profits. The first "P" refers to AMD's efforts to market itself as a total hardware platform company, with CPUs, GPUs and chipsets to offer for one-stop computer shopping. While AMD will continue to support Intel CPUs and Nvidia graphics, Bixler said the new program will offer more benefits than previously to partners who sell AMD-only platforms.

"Programs" refers to the merging of AMD's two main partner tracks for GPU resellers and CPU resellers. Bixler said that presently, the GPU partner track has generally been reserved for subdistributors of ATI graphics. The new merged program will give AMD's CPU resellers increased benefits for selling ATI products, which almost all of them do anyway, he said.

The integration of AMD's two main reseller channels is a natural extension of the recent corporate restructuring that has brought the CPU and GPU product divisions more fully under one management umbrella, Bixler said.

The last "P" is something vendors tend to tag onto such appeals to the channel -- a "commitment to making partners more profitable," according to AMD. Bixler admitted that AMD had not fully served its system integrator and reseller partners in recent years and hoped to rectify that with the new partner program structure.