Sunnyvale (CA) - With the acquisition of ATI, AMD will have all the pieces in place to evolve from a processor manufacturer into a platform company and go head to head with Intel in more markets - especially in the business desktop and notebook segments. But AMD claims that it is approach will be different from Intel and allow third-party firms - such as Nvidia - to access its platforms.
Integration is the keyword the best describes the motivation for AMD to acquire ATI. While the company threw out processors and had to rely on third-party support to build hardware around its products- especially its Turion 64 notebook CPU - AMD will now be able to build its own "integrated" hardware ecosystem - very much like Intel.
However, AMD believes that it will not morph into another Intel: "Our approach is very different from Intel," said AMD spokesman Bubba Wolford. "You really would be comparing apples to oranges. We are very much about an open approach. That includes opening up our chipset, our platforms and our processors. If you look at 'Torrenza' you see how we allow companies to innovate around our products," he said.
Of course, building its own platform somewhat contradicts AMD's previous claim that using third-party hardware developers will offer consumers a "best of breed" product range for its products such as the mobile Turion 64 processor. Spokesman Jon Carvill told TG Daily that a new ability to offer a complete AMD solution, however, improves this scenario: "You really can do both, using 'best of breed' as wells as an integrated product. Ultimately it gives the customer more choice than before," he said.
So, what does that exactly mean for the partners of AMD? Especially Nvidia comes to mind, which today ships more than 90% of the chipsets for AMD computers and potentially could have been viewed as a better fit for AMD. In the end, AMD says, it will depend on Nvidia what the relationship will look like and AMD itself of course has little interest to change the way it is treated by Nvidia. However, AMD suddenly has become one of Nvidia's most important competitors and that may have an impact on how Nvidia will position itself in the future.
Wolford and Carvill argued that AMD and ATI were more "complementary" than an AMD-Nvidia company. "If you look at how AMD and ATI have worked together, if you look at the approach to customer centricity and the very similar philosophies overall, than you see that the strengths of ATI and AMD are a very natural fit," Carvill said.
And then, of course, there is still the question what this new company will be called, when the acquisition will close as planned in the fourth quarter of this year. Wolford said that the deal still has to pass various steps, such as stockholder approval, and that more information on the branding will become available over the next months. At least for now, "the company" will act under the name of AMD, Wolford said.
AMD acquires ATI for $5.4 billion