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Hector Ruiz, the former chief executive officer of Advanced Micro Devices made everything he could in order to spin-off the company’s manufacturing facilities and sell them to rich investors from Abu Dhabi. The man who left AMD over four years ago believes that in case he had not sold the costly semiconductor facilities, AMD would have not survived.

“If the Abu Dhabi deal were to fall through, AMD would not survive. I had to do everything in my control to make it happen,” wrote Hector Ruiz in his book called Slingshot: AMD’s Fight to Free an Industry from the Ruthless Grip of Intel, reports the Wall Street Journal.

While Hector Ruiz was at the head of AMD, the company gained market share from Intel Corp. thanks to award-winning K8 processor design, which development started long before Mr. Ruiz took the helm. Unfortunately, by the time Mr. Ruiz left the company in 2008, the firm's market shares almost returned to their historical levels. Hector Ruiz was the second chief executive of AMD who took the CEO seat after Jerry Sanders, a co-founder of AMD retired after 33 years at the company. While he did solve a number of problems for AMD, he also created new challenges because of rather controversial decisions.

As the top executive of the world’s second largest supplier of microprocessors on the planet, Mr. Ruiz carried out a lot of difficult and controversial decisions. In a bid to gain graphics processor, chipset and platform technologies he endorsed the acquisition of ATI Technologies in 2006 (after failing to negotiate Nvidia Corp. to merge with AMD), which caused years of financial woes for the company, but defined the future AMD and to some extent the whole industry. He then sold off manufacturing facilities in order to pay back debts and cut-down expense to develop new manufacturing technologies and upgrade fabs, a rather controversial decision that reduced AMD’s competitive positions against Intel. The manufacturing spin-off also led to one of the most difficult moments in Mr. Ruiz’s career; he decided he had to join the new foundry company to reassure the investors about his commitment to the project.

The early success of Mr. Ruiz as the head of AMD was defined by technologies (e.g. x86-64, K8 micro-architecture, HyperTransport bus, etc.) designed while Mr. Sanders was the chief executive officer. The technologies which development started under Mr. Ruiz’s leadership – Bulldozer and Bobcat micro-architectures – have not managed to become breakthroughs of the industry like the AMD64 technology a decade ago.

During his tenure as AMD chief executive, Mr. Ruiz spent a great deal of time trying to sue Intel for anticompetitive business practices. In many ways, the legal battle against the chip giant distracted Mr. Ruiz attention from day-to-day decision making and slowed-down innovation at AMD, which led to subsequent losses of money and market share. AMD only received $1.25 billion from Intel, which did not admit any wrong-doings, to end the litigation. Still the FTC ordered the world’s top chipmaker to cease a number of business practices.

“Although I never expected the lawsuit to go to trial, I harbored hopes that Intel would admit wrong-doing. I also believed AMD merited damages well beyond the $1.25 billion,” wrote Mr. Ruiz.

After Hector Ruiz left AMD, it turned out that he provided information about AMD to hedge funds. Following the reports about the leak of confidential information, Mr. Ruiz resigned from GlobalFoundries.

“Slingshot” book is co-written with journalist Lauren Villagran and is set for publication April 23.

Tags: AMD, ATI, Nvidia, Intel, Business


Comments currently: 26
Discussion started: 02/15/13 01:07:05 AM
Latest comment: 06/06/14 07:47:47 AM
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0 5 [Posted by: Tristan  | Date: 02/15/13 01:07:05 AM]
- collapse thread

No, better that wealthy Arabs with oil money pay for new manufacturing technology, not affordable by AMD, to compete with Intel. It also benefits other fabless companies who compete with Intel. And one more thing Tristan, the fruits of Bulldozer APU modular design is starting to bare ripe fruit. Temash will kick Haswell and will still be competitive when Bay Trail comes out in 8 - 12 months time.
4 3 [Posted by: linuxlowdown  | Date: 02/15/13 03:51:14 AM]
show the post
0 4 [Posted by: RedDudde  | Date: 02/15/13 07:48:40 AM]
only thing these APU will be kicking are the low-end & low-margin CPU line-up from intel.

Which is where all the money is, due to the shift to mobility and power efficent pc designs within the last few years. Make sense to focus most of your development on the market segment that will make you the most money right? Chip manufacturers don't build chips just for the enthusiast segment, because if they did they would make no money at all. As far as I am concerned intel can keep the enthusiast segment with their enthusiast inflated prices. AMD is making a much smarter move and focusing efforts in the money making mainstream segements and it is paying off.

I agree that timing will be keye for AMD but so far they are doing well in that market segment and it will only get better unless intel can offer something truly competative for the low power space in the next few years
2 1 [Posted by: veli05  | Date: 02/15/13 08:27:33 AM]
@ReddDudde - I guess "kick" is a generic word isn't it? How about I expand on that -

Temash will no doubt beat Haswell in the market, falling within the same power envelope and having superior graphics (and perhaps even better computation) along with AMD's history of undercutting Intel in price.
2 2 [Posted by: linuxlowdown  | Date: 02/16/13 12:43:49 AM]
highly doubt that but it would be nice if it true.
0 0 [Posted by: clone  | Date: 02/16/13 08:50:05 AM]
Yet the Radeon brand is now the poster child for the company due to difficulties maintaing their competative edge in the desktop CPU segment as of late. Nowadays that decision is now what is holding the company together, hardly a bad decision in my opinion.

It could be better to push these bilions into new CPU and fabs

AMD is done competiting directly with Intel directly due to how corned they have the market of CPU development. Investing more into R@D is needed to maintain their competative edge wherever possible, but no soley to compete with intel, rather than meet customer needs as they see fit.

They are killing it in the mobile space with their apu's and even their desktop apu's are more than enough for what the average consumer needs(where the money is mind you). Intel's low power offereings are just not cutting it so far.
3 0 [Posted by: veli05  | Date: 02/15/13 08:18:02 AM]
The strategy to break up the Intel monopoly (Since the US Government won't) is the HSA Consortium. It sees a dozen companies cross licensing their IP and integrating it into the Common Platform at IBM, Samsung and Gloflo foundaries. Intel faces the combined force of the other sizeable players in the industry. This is unprecedented. It's a bit like this
2 1 [Posted by: linuxlowdown  | Date: 02/16/13 03:27:30 AM]
Dont Blame Hector, if ATI was not been acquired during his time AMD APU will not exist. and probably AMD will survived today.
4 0 [Posted by: xentar  | Date: 02/15/13 08:15:55 PM]
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1 4 [Posted by: Tristan  | Date: 02/16/13 04:17:48 AM]
Wrong. A great APU is what will bring profits.

Fudzilla: "Remember, AMD still makes quite a bit of money on graphics. It doesn't makes a lot, but it doesn't build GPUs at a loss either. Its graphics integrated in CPUs, APUs if you will, also help AMD sell more cores and this is why AMD will stick with making new graphics cores in the future. Technology developed for high-end discrete graphics will trickle down to APUs over time."


The APU has just been invented in the last few years by AMD. The next 3 will see it take off in its new revisions. Intel has no answer in the graphics department to make a great APU like AMD, although they implement OpenCL.

APU 101: Computation on the GPU gives 500% more performance than the CPU. That's what it's all about.

If you really want to understand what is happening mate, seriously read this article from Tomshardware. It is about the history of the whys and hows of the ATI acquisition and where it's all heading

0 0 [Posted by: linuxlowdown  | Date: 02/18/13 03:42:41 AM]
buying ATI was the only thing that saved AMD, best decision they ever made, the market is moving to ARM and you believe AMD should have bet it all on just cpu production..... absurd, ridiculous, stupid, the worst possible of all decisions.

with ATI AMD got a complete platform, this got them into server, they got motherboard, they got gfx, a complete platform which has paid off in droves for them, how do you think AMD got not just Wii and Xbox 360 but now Xbox 720, PS4, & Wii's replacement.

at what point will some ppl finally give their head a shake in order to pull it out of their ass.

tbc I do believe Ruiz was the wrong man for the job and that he made many tactical mistakes as only an engineer can (choosing to go native quad core at the companies expense, allowing execution to falter right when they needed it on time) but the ATI purchase was the one choice that gave them something they didn't have prior.... hope, a chance at a future and the ATI side is the only profitable part of AMD again making the criticism of the purchase a practice for idiots.
2 0 [Posted by: clone  | Date: 02/16/13 08:43:40 AM]

Opteron superiority disappeared on his watch.
1 1 [Posted by: Tukee44  | Date: 02/15/13 09:00:14 PM]

Let's read the book first before passing judgement.
2 0 [Posted by: Colinhu  | Date: 02/17/13 02:10:42 PM]


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