AMD finally makes some money

Ex-chipmaker AMD managed to turn a rare quarterly profit with which to round off its fiscal 2009.

The firm said it made $1.158 billion profit on income of $1.646 billion. Unfortunately, the figures include $1.2 billion awarded in a legal settlement from arch rival Intel. Without that, AMD would have made a loss of around $47,000 for the quarter.

Intel was deemed to have acted anti-competitively to stifle AMD in some of its markets and the settlement in November ended a bunch of bitter legal wranglings.

Dirk Meyer, AMD's president and chief executive, was in bullish mood during a conference call Thursday afternoon. It was the first time in three years his firm had turned a profit.

"We promised to lower our break even point, and we did. We promised to increase our focus on our core businesses - X86 microprocessors, and graphics, and we have. We promised to execute on our roadmap, on time, and on budget, and we did," said Meyer.

"We promised to expose the truth about the monopolistic environment in which we were operating, and we did. We promised to execute our 'asset smart' strategy and transform ourself into a fabless company, and we did.

"In short," he proclaimed, "we delivered on every major milestone to which we committed this past year, placing ourselves in a much stronger position to succeed in the quarters ahead."

The firm said its server business had enjoyed a "particularly strong" quarter and its graphics business had also turned in good figures, despite problems with its Taiwanese chip fab TSMC transitioning to 40nm.

"We were heavily constrained in the quarter and we could have done a lot more if were not so [constrained]," Meyer claimed.