Oct 19, 2006

AMD: don't panic yet

The rumor mill is abuzz with talk of the AMD @ Luther Forest deal possibly being in trouble. In fact, various outlets (including the Times Union and Tech Valley Times) are reporting off-the-record comments from officials within the various entities involved in the negotiations that all have an "AMD is asking for more" flavor to them.

It's not time to panic on this thing --- not yet, at least. Rather, this debris is what one should expect from such a sloppy, not quite completed deal that was rushed to the press conference stage for the benefit of various parties for reasons that needn't be analyzed in this forum today. But let's just relate that the word "premature" has come up a few times in conversations we've had with people working in that big stone building on top of State Street in recent days when discussing the status of this project.

But the good news is that AMD CEO Hector Ruiz is talking up the plant in a recent interview with Financial Times, as we reported yesterday on our main portal. After all, Mr. Ruiz was up there on that podium at Albany Nanotech with all the familiar local faces when those cameras were rolling. So he, too, has some credibility to protect here as well. Hopefully, they're just arguing over such issues as who sweeps the roads?

But consider this scenario: AMD ups the ante by demanding substantial additional incentives and the deal is still not closed by New Year's day. Wouldn't this present an interesting dilemma for the new Governor? You get the impression from his reaction comments that Eliot Spitzer thinks the deal as originally framed was about as far as the state should go and he would therefore be disinclined to throw more taxpayer money at the California company.

But if he says nyet, the Republicans will claim that he blew the deal that they had tee'd up.

Wouldn't that be the nuts? Let's hope we don't get there. Because as I said in an earlier post: no matter where you stood on this chip fab project beforehand -- even those of us that consider it as being mostly irrelevent to the Tech Valley initiative -- its falling apart now doesn't do anyone any good.

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