Manufacturing/Maintaining AMDs partnerships
FiringSquad: Why purchase ATI over another manufacturer such as SiS or VIA that also have a lot of experience with platforms?
Well it’s a number of things, ATI is a very dynamic company in the sense that when you’re looking at things like their very large, very profitable consumer business which takes us into new areas going forward. Correct me if I’m wrong but I don’t think SiS and VIA have anything close to what ATI does in terms of consoles, handheld, DTV, or multimedia for that matter. I mean, VIA, their focus is on motherboards ultimately. I believe they’ve done some work on the CPU side but ATI’s got some dynamic strengths that are very complementary to our core philosophies going forward, and from a cultural standpoint, both companies are very customer-centric, you know if you were to talk to some of ATI’s customer and some of AMD’s customers I think you’d hear very similar feedback in respect to how we think about our customers and how we innovate accordingly.
FiringSquad: One feature AMD has touted in the past is their “open ecosystem” of partners. What will AMD do to proactively maintain strong relationships with 3rd party manufacturers such as NVIDIA, SiS, and VIA?
We’re going to continue to take a very open approach. You certainly saw a lot of discussion on Torrenza, which is a strategy that’s going to rely on us opening up our architecture to third party innovation. AMD’s approach has always been to open things up so that other vendors can come in and make money on our platform and that won’t change. Ultimately we want to make high performance microprocessors, we want to make high performance graphics processors, or media processors and chipsets. We want to give our customers choice. At the end of the day the customers really have the final say on what they want to choose to use, so whether that’s an AMD solution or a third party such as NVIDIA, VIA, or SiS. So really nothing has changed with our approach, the philosophy is still the same.
FiringSquad: How will you guys deal with the Culture Clash? The principles behind each company are aligned, but the challenge of mega-mergers ends up being the small things (i.e. employee benefits, “who’s in charge”, the distribution channels).
I don’t believe there is a culture clash. There’s no culture clash. If you see Dave (ATI’s CEO) and Dirk (AMD’s President and COO) together they’re like two peas in a pod. Of course, Jon’s probably in a better position to answer that question having worked at ATI for a couple of years.
Having worked with both cultures firsthand I can say that they’re very complementary from the engineering level up, it really is about collaboration, collaboration to drive innovation and that really extends throughout the organization. I just think that with this merger we have an opportunity to leverage each others respective strengths to drive that innovation one step further and that’s the really exciting part. But from a cultural standpoint, I think in my opinion we’re very complementary and hopefully very collaborative.
FiringSquad: Are any AMD fabs capable of producing ATI GPUs? Are there any plans to manufacture ATI GPUs and chipsets in any of AMD’s fabs?
Well I think Dirk explained it best on the call this morning. You know really with our fabs, our focus is on microprocessor production. You’ve seen our announcements with our new facilities, Fab 38, our focus is on microprocessor production and to make sure that we run those fabs at max efficiency and to make sure that production capacity is where it needs to be for us. We also have a relationship with Chartered where we can scale our production up and down as required and we’ve got some great experience working with third-party foundries. For ATI they’ve got a really great relationship with TSMC and UMC so we plan to continue to manage those relationships going forward.
So what Dirk said this morning is that for the next couple of years it’s going to be business as-is and beyond that we’re going to take the necessary steps to make sure that we’re filling our fabs with AMD products and ultimately we want to have that flex capacity available so that we can scale up or down based on customer demand.