Company: AMD
Authour: James Prior
Editor: Charles Oliver
Date: August 30th, 2010
Interviews & Summary

AMD
AMD
AMD is not jumping blind with their abandonment of the ATI brand. AMD research indicates that consumers who understand what discrete graphics cards are and keep track of the new models prefer the AMD brand when considering it against NVIDIA.


Discrete Graphics Aware Customers Prefer AMD Brand
Discrete Graphics Aware Customers Prefer AMD Brand

Consumers Grant Permission
Consumers Grant Permission

AMD partners are supportive of the transition, as well:

Add-in Board Partner Support
Add-in Board Partner Support

ATI People At AMD

As ATI transitions out of the twilight, we see that AMD is paying homage to the company that was once home to BitBoys Oy, with their new FUSION processor and leaked codenames of the next generation all close to ATI's home. With long time ATI staffer Rick Bergman currently Senior Vice President and AMD General Manager, and Eric Demers now Chief Technology Officer of Graphics Product Division - it looks more like ATI is taking over AMD.

AMD ATI Integration?
AMD ATI Integration?

However, not all of you will be of the same opinion. So let's hear from two long-time ATI employees, Eric 'SirEric' Demers, AMD CTO of Graphics, and Terry CATALYSTMAKER Makedon, Catalyst Product Manager.

AMD Graphics
AMD Graphics
Eric Demers

Rage3D: This is the second time you've been 'acquired' and rebranded; first with artX and now with ATI. Seems to be working out well for you, what's your secret?

Eric Demers: I like new t-shirts! They are sooo soft when new. Though seriously, in the big scheme of things, the focus is always going to be on the product. Names change, labels fall off; the product lives on!

Rage3D: Will AMD let you still wear your ATI shirts to the office?

Eric Demers: At Siggraph they wanted me to wear this itchy ATI Firepro shirt, which I was able to get out of. So it will depend which is softer - I'll wear that one. But, I will be keeping my ATI swag I have around my office. Including my limited edition Ruby doll ;-) - I include a pic.

SirEric's Ruby Doll
SirEric's Ruby Doll

Rage3D: Internally, former ATI employees must have been expecting this for a while. Is this something of a relief that its now happened, or a disappointment that the brand won't live on forever?

Eric Demers: Honestly, we've been AMD for quite some time internally - both intellectually and emotionally. I think it was long overdue, as it caused more confusion than anything else. I do like the red more than the green, however.

Rage3D: The Evergreen series has been very successful, can you think of a better way for the ATI brand to be remembered?

Eric Demers: It's all about the product - people remember good cards and good systems and who built them. The Evergreen series has been great and is a good way to end that brand. But so much good stuff is upcoming, so the spirit and work moves on.

Thanks, SirEric! We also chatted with Terry Makedon, AMD Catalyst Product Manager:

AMD Catalyst
AMD Catalyst
Terry Makedon

Rage3D: In the 10 years you've worked as ATI Catalyst Product Manager, what's been your biggest success?

Terry Makedon: Well I am only here 9.5 years so my biggest success will be hitting the decade mark. Totally scary that I like this stuff so much that I do the same job for so many years.

Rage3D: Complete this sentence: "You can have my ATI Radeon shirt when ______ "

Terry Makedon: Sorry lets rephrase that "You can NEVER have my ATI Radeon shirt". I am keeping them all for my personal collection!

Rage3D: Do you recall how you felt when the AMD acquisition of ATI was announced? How did you feel?

Terry Makedon: Sure do, I was totally devastated at the news. Its sort of like being a fan of one football team all your life and being told that you had to change teams you supported. But that only lasted a day or so - we were notified of how many new and exciting opportunities there would be and it started very quickly to sound like a great idea ... Catalyst for CPUs ... hmmmm

Rage3D: Will the ATI brand retirement cause any problems for your team?

Terry Makedon: No, just gotta change a few logos in our installer and our CCC and do some string replacements and we are good to go.

Rage3D: Has the integration with AMD changed much of how ATI operates?

Terry Makedon: Sure. Now we are a bigger company with bigger opportunities. Very simple really, we now have the ability to work on more things.

Rage3D: What's the best part of being employed by AMD?

Terry Makedon: Being on the leading edge of technology. I totally love reading all the tech sites and the forums - when everyone is trying to guess what our future products are, or combing through Catalyst for clues for upcoming chips, or reading the usual rumour tech sites and seeing how much info they post is actually wrong. Its kinda cool knowing everything that a lot of people are dying to find out about. Not only do I know a lot about what is coming out this year and next, but we are already working on stuff for 3 or 4 years down the road.

Rage3D: Is there anything you've wanted to implement in CCC that hasn't made it yet?

Terry Makedon: Yeah - Auto Updates. We simply always find more important things to work on instead. I wish we had unlimited resources to fix everything we want to get around to doing.

Rage3D: What are you most excited about for the coming few months?

Terry Makedon: My birthday, the Toronto International Film Festival, Roger Waters performing 'The Wall' in concert, the start of Hockey season ... oh and something about some cool islands to make my gaming even better!

Summary

Farewell ATI Radeon
Farewell ATI Radeon
For a lot of you, the instant reaction will be to dismiss it as corporate toeing the line, enforcing no special treatment for any acquisition. However, looking through the competitive landscape of where AMD wants to be in the next few years, it becomes clearer that the ATI brand recognition, while strong, is not as important as a single unified brand. AMD is that brand, with future FUSION accelerated processors, customer experience driven VISION technology platforms and open standards initiatives making AMD a viable preferred brand. So now we can look forward to 'some cool islands' and hope that this years discrete Graphics product launch is even more successful than the last - and it doesn't matter what label is on it. Rage3D thanks Eric Demers, Terry Makedon and Dave Erskine, for their assistance with this article. 

Evolution of AMD/ATI Brands
Evolution of AMD/ATI Brands


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