Nearly six years have gone by since AMD scooped up ATI for $5.4 billion, and when it was first announced, analysts wondered if the chip maker was making the right move. AMD's multi-billion dollar gamble paid off, and until Kepler arrives, the Sunnyvale chip maker owns the fastest single-GPU graphics card in the world (Radeon HD 7970). But what if AMD had acquired Nvidia instead?
It's not a nonsensical question. According to a report in Forbes , AMD was very much interested in acquiring Nvidia and actually approached the rival GPU maker before buying ATI. According to Forbes , Nvidia was AMD's first choice, but a deal would have been conditional on Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang lording over the two combined companies.
Hector Ruiz, who at the time was the big man on AMD's campus, decided his company would be better served by going with ATI. For a short while after the acquisition, it looked like AMD made a grave mistake. Fast forward to today and AMD owns the second largest share of the total graphics chip market with 24.8 percent, behind Intel at 59.1 percent and ahead of Nvidia at 15.7 percent, according to data by Jon Peddie Research .