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AMD CEO on AI: 'I'm not a believer in moats' given how fast the market is moving

At the Code Conference in Dana Point, Calif., AMD CEO Dr. Lisa Su said things are still pretty fluid for competitors in AI.

AMD (AMD) CEO Dr. Lisa Su thinks AI is moving too quickly for any competitive moats to be set in stone.

"I'm not a believer in moats when the market is moving as fast as this," Su said at the 2023 Code Conference.

The translation: Though Nvidia (NVDA) has become the one to beat in AI, the field is more open than it might appear.

"When you think about moats, ... [they are in] markets where people are not really wanting to change things a lot," Su told the audience. "The next 10 years are going to be different from the last 10, as it relates to how you develop within AI. ... And the benefit of an open [source] approach is that there's no one company that has all the ideas. So the more we're able to bring the ecosystem together, the more we'll be able to take advantage of those really, really smart developers who want to accelerate AI."

Dr. Lisa Su, Chair and CMO, AMD speaks onstage during Vox Media's 2023 Code Conference at The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel on September 26, 2023 in Dana Point, California. (Photo by Jerod Harris/Getty Images for Vox Media)
Dr. Lisa Su, Chair and CEO of AMD, speaks onstage about AI during Vox Media's 2023 Code Conference on Sept. 26, 2023, in Dana Point, Calif. (Jerod Harris/Getty Images for Vox Media) (Jerod Harris via Getty Images)

It's a point that Google (GOOG, GOOGL) DeepMind CEO Demis Hassabis also touched on recently: A head start in AI only gets you so far, and the reality is that we're still in the early innings.

"We're such early innings of how AI, and especially generative AI, is coming to market," Su told the audience. "I view this as a 10-year cycle that we're talking about, not 'how many GPUs can you get for the next two to four quarters?'"

For now, Nvidia rules the roost, and as the AI revolution carries on, tech is facing a Nvidia GPU shortage — a fact that doesn't surprise Su.

"If you think about the technology trends that we've seen over the last 10, 20 years ... AI is 10 times, 100 times more than that in terms of how it's impacting everything that we do," Su said. "It's that big. So the fact there's a shortage of GPUs, I think it's not surprising because people recognize how important the technology is."

Meanwhile, AMD is working to make its way into Nvidia's world.

The company was one of Nvidia's competitors that saw its stock drop in the aftermath of the company's blockbuster earnings recently. In 2023, AMD also saw a minor sales decline, but it is poised to move beyond that next year.

"We see sales rebounding 21% in 2024 after our view of a 2.2% decline in 2023 (+44% in 2022)," CFRA analyst Angelo Zino, who has a Buy rating on the stock, wrote on Sept. 23. "That said, we do believe customer inventories have been sharply curtailed and remain excited about content gains from AI servers. ... We think AMD’s pipeline remains impressive ... and should support higher revenue."

AMD stock is up over 50% year to date.

Allie Garfinkle is a Senior Tech Reporter at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter at @agarfinks and on LinkedIn.

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