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For 50 years now, Intel Corp. has had Advanced Micro Devices Inc. to kick around. AMD has seen good eras, but it has remained an afterthought in the semiconductor business, and less than a decade ago seemed so adrift that analysts predicted it would be acquired or simply go out of business. Today, things are starting to look different.
In its five years under Chief Executive Officer Lisa Su, AMD has scraped its way back to relevance. It has stabilized and improved finances, spent the money needed to develop chips that can outmatch Intel’s, and sold them to major clients who might have laughed it out of the building a few years ago. Those heavyweights include the cloud arms of Amazon.com, Microsoft, and (as of Aug. 8) Google, the trifecta of cloud computing. The big cloud providers are especially desperate for an alternative to Intel’s pricey server chips. “We’re really excited to have AMD as an option for our customers,” says Matt Garman, who heads infrastructure for Amazon’s cloud business. “For a long time, they weren’t.”
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