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AMD to Sell, Lease Back its Texas Campus to Raise Cash

Tickers in this article: ARMH MSFT INTC GOOG AAPL AMD
NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Hard times continue for computer chip maker Advanced Micro Designs(AMD) . Their CFO resigned in September. They released shaky earnings numbers in October and in November their stock hit a new, 52-week low. Now they are looking to save money in other ways -- such as selling their Texas real estate.

Engadget says AMD is considering selling and then leasing back its 58-acre technology campus in Austin, Texas to raise cash. The asking price is estimated in the $200 million range. The process is not new for the company They've already made similar deals for their Silicon Valley and Toronto properties.

The computer chip business is changing rapidly. The industry is shifting away from PCs and laptops and more toward smartphones and tablets. And AMD is not yet a player in that end of the marketplace.

Competitor Intel(INTC) , which dominated the insides of computers everywhere is also starting to feel the heat. While their processors power the majority of computers today -- whether they run on Microsoft's Windows or Apple's OS X -- mobile devices have, so far, been partial to ARM(ARMH) -based chips.

But, that's changing too. Apple(AAPL) makes their own chips for their iPhones and iPads. Samsung is doing the same. Microsoft(MSFT) specifies ARM-based processors in its new Windows RT and Windows Phone 8 products.

And now, Intel is busy trying to play catch-up. There are a small number of new smartphones that now run on an Intel Celeron processor. Single core chips with lots of power.

We have been testing Motorola's Razr i model -- the "i" stands for Intel -- and have been impressed with the device's speed and battery life. Verizon's sells a version of the same phone, the Razr M, but it has an ARM processor inside.

The model with the Intel chip is not sold in the U.S. as of yet but is marketed everywhere else on the planet. The Razr i has already made it through the FCC's approval process already. And, since both Motorola and Android are owned by Google(GOOG) we'll guess that if they like making phones with Intel inside that we'll see them very soon here too.

We can report that we have seen a number of future Windows 8 computers that run on AMD processors. In our brief time with the units we were impressed with the value these lower-cost computers offer. That should prove to be a good thing for AMD.

But, what we haven't seen are any new mobile products sporting the AMD logo. That's a problem which needs to be address.

--Written by Gary Krakow in New York.

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