Nearly six years ago, Intel Corp. (NASDAQ: INTC) paid rival Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (NASDAQ: AMD) a $1.25 billion settlement for alleged anti-competitive practices, such as threatening personal computer (PC) makers to avoid AMD chips. In the grand scheme of things, the lawsuit did not hurt Intel and did not help AMD. Here’s why.
The demand for PCs slowly has given way to mobile computing such as tablets and smartphones. This has affected the demand for PC chips, which adversely impacted these two respective companies.
However, over the past six years Intel morphed from a vanilla wafer chip maker to a diverse company that not only sells chips made for personal computing but also for cloud servers, wearables, robotics and mobile devices. Intel also offers McAfee “software and hardware” for PCs, mobile and business computing purposes, according to its latest 10-K. Intel demonstrated adaptability, and as a result its free cash flow climbed steadily over the past three years, according to Morningstar.
Advanced Micro Devices still roughly resembles a run-of-the-mill chip maker, catering mostly to the PC market. Advanced Micro Devices mostly operates in two segments: the Computing and Graphics segment and the Enterprise, Embedded and Semi-Custom segment. The Computing and Graphics segment, which comprised 57% of Advanced Micro Devices overall fiscal 2014 revenue, still struggles a great deal with declining PC sales. Segment revenue in the most recent quarter fell by 54% from a year ago.
However, Advanced Micro Devices’ Enterprise, Embedded and Semi-Custom segment has grown by leaps and bounds due to success of its semi-custom system on chip (SoC) products. The segment saw its revenue increase a whopping 51% in fiscal 2014. Overall, Advanced Micro Devices has turned a free cash flow deficit over the past three years. On the bright side the free cash flow deficit has been getting smaller during that time.
Intel and Advanced Micro Devices paths have diverged somewhat, with one not necessarily competing with the other.
Thomson/First Call has a mean target price pegged at $2.44 per share for Advance Micro Devices, which represents a potential 24% increase from its current stock price. The mean target price for Intel is $33.43, which represents a 12% potential increase.