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AMD revamps memory group

The company's two new units will split up responsibilities for selling flash memory products in the embedded and wireless markets.

Advanced Micro Devices is rearranging its memory business.

The chipmaker said Monday it will establish two new business units inside its Memory Group. The new units will split up responsibilities for selling flash memory for embedded and wireless products and will focus on emerging markets such as the auto industry.

Flash memory, which is used in a large number of electronics devices such as cell phones, PDAs and MP3 players, is a key product for AMD. The company's flash product line--including AMD's new MirrorBit memory--is its second-largest revenue producer after its Athlon XP processor for PCs.

Sunnyvale, Calif.-based AMD will use the new memory business units to target a wider range of customers while bolstering current relationships with cell phone and networking gear manufacturers. Flash is ideal for battery-powered devices such as cell phones because of its ability to hold data when power is turned off. It can be used in almost any device that stores data.

AMD plans to target the automotive market, including car navigation and entertainment systems, and to continue to focus on cell phones, the company said in a statement.

Flash sales, which were hit hard by the 2001 telecom slump, have been improving for AMD, which is the second largest manufacturer of that type of memory after Intel.

But the company isn't entirely in the clear. A combination of the telecom industry woes and fluctuating PC chip sales has led to a string of quarterly losses this year. To cut costs, AMD has said it will eliminate 2,000 jobs. It hopes to use the cuts, along with better sales of PC processors and flash, to break even in the second quarter of 2003.

AMD appointed two executives to run the new business units. Amir Mashkoori, currently vice president of operations for the Memory Group, will become vice president and general manager of the new Embedded Business Unit. Bertrand Cambou, vice president of the Memory Group, will also assume the role of general manager for the Wireless Business Unit.