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ATI Assets Rotting on the Vine, AMD Says

So things can get worse for AMD, which lost $1.6 billion in the first nine months of this year

So things can get worse for AMD, which lost $1.6 billion in the first nine months of this year, is down 40% on Wall Street just in the last two months and now can't deliver its life-saving Barcelona chip because of bugs.

It's told the SEC that it's concluded that the goodwill it's been carrying on its books since its $5.4 billion acquisition of ATI a year ago October is impaired and that it's going to have to take a "material" charge this quarter, but it can't even guess how much yet -the now debt-riddled company can't even establish a range of how much it might have overpaid for the property.

It said it reached this conclusion when it was divining its long-term financial outlook.

One wonders how much is due to the way AMD did or didn't integrate the Canadian company.

Anyway, spooked by its poor Barcelona execution, now it's talking about not being so ambitious with its GPU+CPU plans and simply tweaking an existing chip to create a widget called Swift meant to arrive in mid''09.

Meanwhile, Reuters was slipped excerpts of an unaired interview that AMD CEO Hector Ruiz gave CNBC Europe in which he reportedly says that - despite the hash made of Barcelona - he has no plans to step down next year and that when he does leave AMD president and COO Dirk Meyer will succeed him.

The interview was scheduled to run late Thursday after AMD had its meeting with financial analyst in New York.

At that meeting AMD, feeling sorely misunderstood and underrated, told Wall Street that it expects fourth-quarter revenue to be up seasonally and its losses to be pared. It said it expects to return to profitability in all lines of business in 2008, starting with breakeven in Q2. How exactly remains to be seen.

It claimed its Barcelona production issues are behind it, a premature contention it has yet to prove. It does figure it'll have revenues from the Barcelona this quarter by shipping a few hundred thousand parts ahead of fixing what ails it.

The company, which would like to shift everyone's attention to the mainstream market, also sketched out its 2008-09 roadmap.

After Barcelona of course comes the 45nm Shanghai the middle of next year and then Montreal in 2009.

On the notebook side is the delayed Puma due now in Q2 followed by Shrike in 2009. For the commercial desktop AMD will have Perseus in the first half of '08 followed by Kodiak in the second half of '09. Cartwheel, due in 2008, is for the consumer desktop and the company's recently announced Spider gaming platform will be followed by something called Leo in mid-'08 and refreshed again in the first half of '09.

What AMD still wasn't prepared to explain is what it means for its CPU manufacturing when it says "asset lite," presumably a commitment to greater use of contract manufacturers. Heck, there are even whispers AMD might go fab-less.

Ruiz claimed talking about the strategy could harm the plan.

While keeping its own counsel, AMD did say it would cut capital expenditures by $600 million, or 35%, to $1.1 billion.

AMD's stock closed down 1.45% at $8.84, after testing a new low. It was down as much as 5% during the day.

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