The head of AMD is predicting a seismic shift in the balance of power in both the chip industry and the world of IT as a whole, with influence shifting from vendors to users. The move could particularly benefit the healthcare industry, which is still struggling to find ways to move forward with technology.
"We're entering a new era in microprocessor technology where the new phenomenon is choice," said Hector Ruiz, chairman and CEO of AMD. "It'll be the single greatest transfer of power the industry has ever seen from vendor to customer."
He was speaking at Oracle's OpenWorld conference in San Francisco, the first time AMD has been prominently featured at the event.
Of course, increased customer choice comes at a price. Users will have to make more technology decisions and will have "more confusing advertising claims to sort through", Ruiz said. One of his responsibilities as head of AMD will be to ensure that customers have "an honest choice", he added. The bitter rivalry between AMD and chip giant Intel has led to both companies engaging in plenty of claims and counterclaims in the past.
In a spoof of the film The Matrix, always a favourite of technology companies, Ruiz showed a video clip featuring himself playing the role of the film's teacher Morpheus, who educates the Neo character – or in this case, a customer called ITo – on what's really going on in the world.
To underscore the idea of customer choice, Ruiz turned to other high jinks. As he read out a list of AMD partners including Oracle, HP and IBM, he was interrupted by Michael Dell, chairman of Dell. Dell rushed on stage yelling, "Hold on, Hector, I think you missed someone."
For many years an Intel-only shop, Dell recently changed its tune and began offering computers based on AMD's chips.