Bye-Bye Mr. ATI!

Bye-Bye Mr. ATI!

What ever happened to the once spunky underdog we all knew and loved as AMD? These were the guys that refused to back down from the evil Intel empire, and instead of pushing snake-oil sales pitches touting longer stage pipelines as the end-all be-all, AMD won the hearts of enthusiasts with low priced, high performing chips. And in the race to dual-core, fuhgetaboutit! Pentium D processors were getting kicked around by the new schoolyard bully wearing an X2 tattoo.

That was yesterday, and today AMD's traded their Scrappy-Doo persona for one that more closely resembles Rocky Balboa midway through a bout. We're all expecting, or at least hoping, for a happy ending in the form of Barcelona, but you have to wonder just how many blows they can absorb in the meantime, especially when they're self-inflicted. Not that Core 2 needs any help in pummeling the green machine, but the latest jab comes from AMD's own corner: Former ATI CEO and current Executive Vice President of Visual and Media Businesses David Orton (considered a valuable commodity) announces his resignation, effective the end of the month. I suppose that's one way to draw some attention away from Intel's much anticipated price cuts.

The reason for the resignation hasn't been disclosed, but according to the Press Release, Orton leaves with "mixed feelings" and is "optimistic about AMD's future." Read into that what you will, but my own optimism gets shaken when the former head honcho at ATI decides to step down nary a year after the acquisition, with still no 8800 GTX/Ultra killer (or contender) in sight. Snagging ATI represented a big gamble on AMD's part, one that very well may pay off in the long run, but in the here and now, it's resulted in AMD getting thumped in two sectors (CPU and GPU) instead of one.

It's only a resignation though, right? As tech journalists/analysts, we have to be careful not to exaggerate the situation, and in that respect, I don't want to get carried away. But it's not the resignation alone that gives me cause for concern, it's the whole picture. I'm talking about the $611 million first quarter revenue loss (described as "disappointing and unacceptable by AMD's Chief Financial Officer Robert Rivet), the pushed back Barcelona release, an ongoing price war that forced AMD to slash X2 pricing, the attempt to reduce debt by selling $2.2 billion worth of convertible notes, worldwide job cuts to the tune of 2.6% of their total workforce, and, well, need I go on? Put it all together and it's not hard to envision AMD running around Santa Clara much in the same way a chicken scurries about when its head is cut off.

Quite frankly, I'm getting tired of waxing pessimistic about AMD's outlook, and I miss the scrappy underdog that found its way into my own personal dream machine of two years ago. They're just not giving me much reason to write otherwise. Quick, someone toss 'em a silicon Scooby snack.





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to be honest, that scares the crap out of me. Imagine intel and nvidia with no major competition.

2 years form now we may still be buying overpriced "Cutting Edge" 8800Ultras and QX6700's



Seriously, that's really scary. The idea of a good company good companies ATi, scratch that, back too a good AMD and its ATi asset, both well established, and wonderful underdogs...the idea of them going down the drain is awful. No competition is bad news, and a very scary prospect.



All i can say is Tick...Tock.

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