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INTERVIEW: Andrew Buxton, AMD

by Stuart Wilson, Tuesday 12 February 2013

This month’s DISTREE EMEA event in Monaco attracts hundreds of manufacturers to meet channel executives from across the region. Components giant AMD is sending a delegation as it looks to spread its message to both potential and existing partners. Channel EMEA asked Andrew Buxton, director of sales component channel and regional OEMs EMEA at AMD, why the vendor was participating and its goals for 2013.

Channel EMEA (CE): What do you want to achieve at DISTREE EMEA 2013? What are your key goals for the event?

Andrew Buxton (AB): DISTREE EMEA always makes for a great start to the year – and it’s a fantastic opportunity to hear first-hand what is of vital importance to the channel in 2013. It’s also a chance for us to talk about what we’re going to be doing – both in terms of channel plans and product roadmaps. My intention is to talk about products and potential opportunities that will get distributors and resellers excited about both margin and value. For example, in the fourth quarter last year, we put together a couple of great deals with motherboard partners which offered a bundle priced at US$90 or less to the channel - US$40 less than existing bundles available on the market; we’re here to tell our channel partners, old and new, that there is margin to be found, and value to be added, when we all work together. In terms of product stack, AMD is perfectly poised to capitalise on the market with a three-pronged strategy of better price-performance, strong stability and content that truly gives the market a reason to get excited again.

A-Series APUs

CE: What products and solutions will AMD showcase at DISTREE EMEA 2013? What do you want distributors and retailers to know about your portfolio?

AB: We’ll be showcasing our second generation A-Series APUs – these combine the function of a graphics card and CPU to give some serious performance at very reasonable prices. We’ve combined the power of Radeon graphics and up to eight cores to deliver price-performance that impresses all the way from value-oriented desktop PC users to the pickiest overclocker or gamer. We’re also keen to talk about some key parts that really showcase how AMD offers strong value alongside performance, for example the FX-4130 CPU, a quad core processor that delivers serious performance for under US$90 MSRP, and the Radeon HD 7870, a great ‘bang for the buck’ graphics card for the mid-market range, which deserves a second look following recent driver updates and phenomenal game bundles.

CE: Describe how your channel business has developed in the past 12 months? What trends have you seen and what have been the highlights for your business?

AB: There is increasing appetite out there for more creative approaches to selling. There’s also a lot of opportunity in the form of what we’re selling; APU, our combined CPU and graphics product, has really taken off, and we’ve seen it open up some areas of the market that might have been out of reach for channel partners in the past.

Another area that is really interesting at the moment is markets adjacent to our core PC market. Low power and mobile devices, dense computing environments, graphics and semi-custom or embedded systems are all huge opportunities for our channel partners – and all markets we have products and technology that can help customers. We have a solid portfolio for the existing markets our channel partners sell into – but we’re looking at adjacent opportunities that are good for both the channel and AMD.

Bang for your buck

CE: Which geographic areas and channels represent the greatest opportunity for growth for your company in EMEA?

AB: Eastern Europe, Russia, Middle East and Africa are all hot, but there are also angles everywhere for putting together recession-busting deals and thinking creatively about how the channel and AMD can work together to help solve customer problems.

CE: Why should distributors focus on your products? What makes AMD’s channel proposition better than competitors in the market?

AB: We offer an alternative to the status quo. One thing we love talking about is how the value of a GPU, CPU or APU is more than just its core performance. When you combine price, power consumption and performance, there are some very powerful messages for buyers out there. If we can help our channel partners offer a genuine choice, then surely we’re giving them an amazing sales tool that adds value for their customer – who might have expected to be presented with a single choice. Most importantly, our goal is to assist our channel partners and customers to make more money with AMD. We are still the best brand to offer bang for your buck and to my mind, no one else offers the kind of experience at key price points that AMD does, allowing our channel partners and customers to win with AMD.

CE: Do you have a structured channel programme? Do you offer a strong margin proposition to your partners? Please explain this area of your business.

AB: We do – the AMD Fusion partner programme is our official programme. As I said earlier, we’re keen to develop new deals for our channel partners, and we’re equally keen on opening up new areas of opportunity for them. But we also spend a great deal of effort in understanding how customers research and buy our products from the channel – and hopefully pass that information on to partners to help them be more effective.

Social media engagement

CE: What sort of support does AMD offer distributors and retailers in terms of marketing, promotions and channel development activities?

AB: In EMEA, we’ve been working on lots of different ways to help distributors and retailers, from video through to social media engagement. One thing we are very strong on at the moment is having a really good online communication engine – it’s completely indispensable when it comes to driving demand. Nearly 90% of consumers use internet search engines when making buying decisions – and, in 2011, they use an average of 14.8 sources of information to make a consumer buying decision.

Of course, there are also plenty of the more traditional activities such as face-to face events, marketing support and advertising. Our channel partner site – the AMD Fusion partner portal – contains a huge library of marketing materials, as well as plenty of background information. AMD has also been working with a lot of custom PC enthusiasts and modders recently, and we’ll be seeing the fruits of that shortly.

CE: How quickly is AMD’s business growing in the EMEA region? What market trends have you identified that are impacting your business segment?

AB: We see some really exciting opportunities for growth with our channel partners – parallel areas to the PC market where they can bring their expertise and AMD technology to bear. A lot of these are built around small form factors, density, power consumption and mobility.

CE: Is AMD channel-friendly? How would you describe your overall go-to-market approach in the EMEA market? What are the overall channel goals and aims for 2013 in EMEA?

AB: Like many technology vendors, we live and die by our channel. Our key goal for 2013 is to earn - and maintain - the trust of our channel partners and prove, and prove again, that we can deliver for them.

CE: What else should distributors attending DISTREE EMEA 2013 know about AMD?

AB: We’ve been incredibly busy with acquisitions and alliances – and they’ll shape AMD for years to come. We acquired SeaMicro to deliver differentiated server solutions to cloud data centres – one of the fastest growing areas of the market right now, and we’re going to design 64-bit ARM technology-based processors for all kinds of markets, starting with cloud data centres.

However, one of the areas I’m most excited about is that we joined up with ARM, Imagination Technologies, MediaTek, Qualcomm, Samsung and TI to form the Heterogenous System Architecture (HSA) Foundation to promote an open standards-based approach to heterogeneous computing. In a nutshell, the old world was built on one instruction at a time whereas the new world will take the best of both serial and parallel processing, through HSA, to usher in a new era of computing. Exciting times indeed and AMD is leading the charge around this true future innovation. If you think you know AMD, you might want to meet with us again soon – a great deal has changed.


AB is participating at DISTREE EMEA 2013. Top distributors, retailers and e-tailers from across the EMEA region are invited to attend DISTREE EMEA 2013, the premier event for the regional ICT and CE channel, from February 19-22nd in Monaco.

DISTREE EMEA gathers hundreds of senior executives from EMEA’s Information Communications Technologies (ICT) & Consumer Electronics (CE) volume channel. DISTREE EMEA is a powerful business platform for vendors looking to manage, build or launch routes-to-market within EMEA. From A-brand vendors to start-ups, the DISTREE EMEA structure and reach offers business benefits and powerful return on investment.

During the course of the three-day event, delegates take part in thousands of pre-scheduled one-on-one meetings with hundreds of vendors. Each year, hundreds of new distribution agreements are struck across the region as a result of business relationships initiated at DISTREE EMEA.

DISTREE EMEA 2013 will also build on successful initiatives launched at last year’s sold out event including a regional awards ceremony. The ‘EMEA Channel Academy: 2013 Awards’ will include more than 20 categories for vendors and distributors from across the region.

For more information on attending DISTREE EMEA 2013 please contact quoting code DEMEA13


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