Soft-spoken and unassuming, Sanjeev Keskar took charge recently as AMD’s Country Manager. An engineering graduate from Pune University, his first job at Max India was followed by a stint as country manager for National Semiconductor. Sanjeev hopes to use his in-depth knowledge of the processor industry to increase AMD’s brand equity in India. And he tells DQCI how he plans to do this.Â
AMD claims to make significant progress in the Indian processor market. What is your game plan to achieve this goal?
I’ve come up with a different agenda. What we are going to do is to develop this market. We have to build up the brand name. AMD has identified India as a strategic focus region. The first step has been taken with the establishment of an office, with a full-fledged team. We want to take the second step by strengthening our channel.Â
Do you plan to recruit channel partners and widen your reach? What will your channel strategy be?
Today we have BBS, Avnet Max and Intraco as our three master distributors. Right now I would like to understand the issues facing the channels and work out channel programs along with these partners to build a strong momentum. This channel works in three tiers. Master distributors sell to master resellers and they sell to resellers and finally to SIs.Â
Do you have plans to introduce more schemes and programs for channels? Which are these and what role will they play?
We are going to have channel programs for each tier and also make rewards more interesting. This will make channel programs more exciting. For the product push strategy, we are going to have a very attractive reseller reward program. We have received excellent response from resellers across India, after we launched this program six months ago.Â
Are you talking to OEMs and systems integrators? When can we hope to see established brands using AMD chips in their machines?Â
We are focusing on MNC OEMs who are actively promoting AMD-based products across the world. These include HP and Compaq, who hold a major market in the consumer segment in mature markets like the US. AMD contributes around 40 percent in this consumer retail market.Â
If you look at the consumer PC requirement, it is more demanding than commercial desktops. Consumers need high-end graphics multimedia PCs. If we are successful in the consumer markets across the world, that itself speaks about our superior performance.Â
We will also work with local Indian brands to convince them on the price-performance advantage that AMD can offer.Â
What steps are being taken by AMD to ensure that high motherboard prices do not scare away those who wish to use AMD products?
We will ensure availability of a complete kit such as motherboard, fan and heat sink, along with our processor through our channel partners. Along with motherboard manufacturers, we are also getting very good support from various chipset manufacturers to make the overall cost attractive to customers.Â
Chipset manufacturers like VIS, SIS, ALI have their own road map to support our processor road map. Over 200 motherboards for AMD Athlon and Duron processors are available from 50 different manufacturers.Â
Intel has been cutting prices. Do you plan to respond to these price cuts?
We have products which offer performance and value as well as a strong management focus for India. With various channel programs, we are confident of supporting our customers and improve our market share in India. We always offer a better price performance and we will continue to do that.
What about your Athlon centers? Do you plan retailing in a big way?
We are going to add and improve on Athlon centers to build awareness and to demonstrate our performance and price advantage across India. Today Athlon 1.4 is the fastest processor available worldwide. We want customers to feel the performance using our platform of Athlon centers.Â
What are AMD’s plans for the notebook market in India?
Coming to the notebook market, today we are offering Athlon 4, 1GHz processor using our new Palomino core with ‘Power On’ technology, which gives you longer battery life. With this new technology, we are going to be a leader in the notebook market.Â
Do you have separate plans for the value as well as the performance segments?Â
Today, we offer Duron processors for the value segment where we have launched Duron 950 MHz CPU in June 2001. For the performance segment, we have launched the 1.4 GHz Athlon across the world (including Delhi), which is the fastest processor available today.Â
Last month AMD launched the Athlon multi-processing processor and AMD MP 760 chipset for servers and workstations.
This marks AMD’s entry into the enterprise market.Â
Do you plan to open any more offices in India?
Legal formalities for Mumbai operations are being completed. The Mumbai office will be functioning in three to four months’ time.Â
When do you plan to launch the Clawhammer in the Indian market?
It will be launched as soon as the Mumbai office is set up. There will be a simultaneous launch of Clawhammer in India. It has a 64-bit architecture that supports all applications developed for a 32-bit processor. This gives it a definite advantage over Intel.Â
Bobby AnthonyÂ in Mumbai