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Report: AMD Considered Buying Nvidia Before ATI Purchase

By - Source: Forbes | B 44 comments

Former AMD employees claim the company had its eyes set on Nvidia first before purchasing ATI.

Former AMD employees told Forbes that the company approached Nvidia about a possible acquisition long before it pulled out the wallet to purchase ATI for $5.4 billion back in 2006.

At the time, AMD was out to get ahead of rival Intel by grabbing a piece of the GPU market and fusing the technology with its own CPU offering. Thus AMD would be in a position to provide a CPU/GPU solution that Intel really wasn't ready to offer.

But during the talks, Nvidia Chief Executive Jen-Hsun Huang reportedly insisted that he become chief executive of the combined company. Naturally AMD Chief Executive Hector Ruiz wasn't going to let that happen, so he chose to acquire rival ATI instead.

After the acquisition, AMD struggled to integrate its newly acquired graphics business as Nvidia unleashed a flood of strong products, consuming large chunks of market share. AMD eventually gathered its forces and fought back, but Nvidia had already moved aggressively into the mobile SoC market by introducing its ARM-based Tegra chip.

With Tegra installed in tablets and smartphones, Nvidia now has a market capitalization of $9.7 billion whereas AMD is worth just $5.2 billion.

Forbes said Nvidia declined to comment.

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  • 26 Hide
    mosu , February 23, 2012 9:09 PM
    And Facebook is worth a hundred billions...wrong numbers!
  • 21 Hide
    iLLz , February 23, 2012 9:11 PM
    "But during the talks, Nvidia Chief Executive Jen-Hsun Huang reportedly insisted that he become chief executive of the combined company."

    Yea that sounds like him...
  • 10 Hide
    tiang , February 23, 2012 9:25 PM
    I don't see that there is a problem for AMD graphic card to be on top of the graphic card world in future with the great improvement of each generation of card they produced. Sooner or later, it will be like Intel dominated the desktop processor segment and AMD GPU will dominated the discrete GPU segment. Well done AMD, you made the right choice to acquire ATI even struggled so hard at the beginning.
Other Comments
  • 26 Hide
    mosu , February 23, 2012 9:09 PM
    And Facebook is worth a hundred billions...wrong numbers!
  • 21 Hide
    iLLz , February 23, 2012 9:11 PM
    "But during the talks, Nvidia Chief Executive Jen-Hsun Huang reportedly insisted that he become chief executive of the combined company."

    Yea that sounds like him...
  • 10 Hide
    tiang , February 23, 2012 9:25 PM
    I don't see that there is a problem for AMD graphic card to be on top of the graphic card world in future with the great improvement of each generation of card they produced. Sooner or later, it will be like Intel dominated the desktop processor segment and AMD GPU will dominated the discrete GPU segment. Well done AMD, you made the right choice to acquire ATI even struggled so hard at the beginning.
  • 7 Hide
    greenspoon , February 23, 2012 9:27 PM
    I thought this was already known. I remember a lot of talk about this right after the merger.
  • 8 Hide
    joytech22 , February 23, 2012 9:30 PM
    Relevant: I wonder how AMD would have done if they had to integrate Fermi into their CPU's.. lol..
    Joking aside, I seriously wonder what they would have done if they did manage to obtain Nvidia, what kind of things they would have done together.


    Irrelevant:

    AMD has kept Radeon's past work strong and has had the fastest dual-GPU cards for two generations as well as amazingly competitive single-GPU performance.
    I don't think competition has ever been this close, Nvidia and AMD are trading blows like crazy in every segment from low-end right up through to high-end.
    I just wish they did the same in the CPU market for their high-end CPU's.
  • -4 Hide
    mr_wobbles , February 23, 2012 9:35 PM
    That could have been a better choice, because ATi was sort of bankrupt. AMD could have had a Monopoly on GPUs.
  • 5 Hide
    joytech22 , February 23, 2012 9:39 PM
    mr_wobblesThat could have been a better choice, because ATi was sort of bankrupt. AMD could have had a Monopoly on GPUs.


    That would have been terrible, pricing would be through the roof for the most part.
    We need competition to keep prices down, look at how Intel is keeping AMD in check when it comes to pricing.

    AMD is CURRENTLY known for it's cheap yet capable CPU's, now look at their GPU's and you'll find the 7970 for like $700 AUSD, almost as much as a 6990 here.

    If Nvidia releases something competitive enough it'll drive down the price.

    We need competition.
  • -4 Hide
    NapoleonDK , February 23, 2012 9:49 PM
    It really makes you wonder where the technology would be today if AMD had gone with Nvidia instead. Theories?

    A few months after AMD bought ATI, Nvidia releases the Geforce 8-Series. A year and a half later, Tegra is announced, but it's another year and a half before anyone uses it. (ZuneHD) Meanwhile, ATI/AMD pushes the unamusing HD2XXX/HD3XXX out to compete with the power hungry 8 and 9-series.

    In the background to all this, Nvidia is polishing Tegra and AMD is developing Fusion. (While the iPhone changes the face of mobile computing and the public begin demanding more and more mobile devices to compete.)

    Intel was of course owning the x86 market and developing Larrabee...I wonder if Intel hadn't wasted time on that, if they would have been willing to give Jen-Hsun Huang the seat he wanted in order to sell his company? I'm surprised that Huang even considered selling out to AMD, it doesn't seem like something he would do, even for a seat on the board.

    Anyway, imagine a world where Intel is producing Fusion APU's with ATI, and Nvidia instead buys AMD and begins making both ARM and x86 processors with fermi-like power consumption! X_x
  • 2 Hide
    fazers_on_stun , February 23, 2012 10:57 PM
    Hmm, Jen Hsun-Huang would probably have not run AMD into the ground and force them to sell off their fabs, although JHH does occasionally open a 'can o' whoopass' on himself :p .

    Too many big egos to fit into one combined company, IMO..
  • -1 Hide
    Camikazi , February 23, 2012 11:00 PM
    mr_wobblesThat could have been a better choice, because ATi was sort of bankrupt. AMD could have had a Monopoly on GPUs.

    Yea and right now the 7990 would have the performance of the 4870 and cost $1000, having competition is a good thing.
  • -8 Hide
    Anonymous , February 23, 2012 11:14 PM
    If Amd bought Nvidia, ATI would have died, since their graphic products weren't that great for 2007-2009.
  • 3 Hide
    NastyPope , February 24, 2012 12:56 AM
    Considering I've been an AMD/ATI fanboy since long before the acquisition, I wouldn't have wanted it to go any other way. Well, I mean, the planning and implementation could have gone better, but I'd have been pretty upset if AMD had bought Nvidia instead of ATI.

    On the other hand, AMD might be doing better had they been able to negotiate a compromise with Huang...
  • 10 Hide
    esrever , February 24, 2012 1:03 AM
    Imagine a bulldozer cpu with fermi integrated graphics... Sounds hot :D 
  • 2 Hide
    esrever , February 24, 2012 1:05 AM
    Why not buy both?
  • 2 Hide
    Marco925 , February 24, 2012 1:26 AM
    joytech22That would have been terrible, pricing would be through the roof for the most part.We need competition to keep prices down, look at how Intel is keeping AMD in check when it comes to pricing.AMD is CURRENTLY known for it's cheap yet capable CPU's, now look at their GPU's and you'll find the 7970 for like $700 AUSD, almost as much as a 6990 here.If Nvidia releases something competitive enough it'll drive down the price.We need competition.

    more like AMD keeps intel in check from charging whatever they want :p 
  • 1 Hide
    aidynphoenix , February 24, 2012 1:32 AM
    i think intel should start making high end graphics cards.
    then we can have a third competitor on the graphics card market, and not only lower prices more. but give the public more choices.

  • -4 Hide
    alidan , February 24, 2012 1:35 AM
    CamikaziYea and right now the 7990 would have the performance of the 4870 and cost $1000, having competition is a good thing.


    no it isnt... look at gameing, on a AAA game, it costs 10 million per platform to develop for them, more platforms equal bigger costs equal higher priced games, or less ambitious games.

    now thats just gameing. but lets go with a cpu market or a gpu...
    if there were more than 2 companies and more than 2 graphics companies, do you really thing that it would be for the better...

    there is a minimum cost for parts on these gpus and cpus, and that's generally 50000$ per waffer, and about 1 billion minimum for a architecture design. if we had lets say 5 viable solutions all with the same market share, would we still get better products? im betting the products would ultimately be cheaper but there is no way all 5 would pull anywhere near the profit they currently do...

    its hard to explain this in a way that people will understand because most people cant think of how more choices will bite them.
  • 2 Hide
    nezzymighty , February 24, 2012 1:38 AM
    This is VERY OLD news; about 2006 old news. Can't believe I was coaxed into read the article.... wait a minute... Extra ... Extra... read all about it.... this just in... AMD invents a 64 bit chip... they call it AMD64...
  • 1 Hide
    shin0bi272 , February 24, 2012 1:40 AM
    If nvidia hates Intel so much why wouldnt they have partnered with AMD? Ive been asking this question since amd bought ati... makes no sense to me mang.
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