HWZ: What are the key reasons for this merger besides capitalizing the synergy of both companies? What does each company see in each other that is vital to move them forward and what is AMD's short-term and long-term gain from this acquisition?
Low: We believe this acquisition will enable us to deliver to end users outstanding total platform solutions: better time-to-market; unified support for our customers in hardware and software; and more optimized technology for example in graphics for digital television, battery life for mobile. Theses are things that customers are looking for.
It is too early in the process to provide any details. However, I can say that in 2007, we plan to deliver new, open platforms for commercial client, mobile computing, gaming and media computing and emerging geographic markets. Then we aim to transform processing technologies with general purpose, media-centric, data-centric and graphic centric platforms in 2008 and beyond.
HWZ: Has the thought of such a merger ever occurred to AMD in the past? Why now?
Low: As mentioned earlier, company acquisition discussions take a while to negotiate, we just happened to complete our discussion at this time. AMD is always looking for opportunities to deliver solutions that meet our customersï¿½ needs.
HWZ: Why the decision to go with ATI? Was NVIDIA, VIA and SiS ever considered?
Low: ATI is the perfect fit. We are strongly culturally aligned - our companies share a common commitment to customers, innovation and competition. Both companies have a strong foundation with leading employees and a team-oriented focus. Our strengths and technologies also complement each other. While AMD has a strong reputation and has made significant gains in the consumer desktop space, ATI's leadership in the notebook segment - from graphics to chipsets as well as geographically - offer strong growth opportunities for the combined company. ATI also has a fast-growing, high-margin consumer electronics business that NVIDIA does not.
HWZ: According to certain news reports, it is said that the ATI brand name would cease to exist after the merger has completed and would bear the AMD name - how true is it? If so, what about product names from ATI currently? Would they still remain intact?
Low: It is too early in the process to provide too many details, however the name of the company will be AMD. The future branding of individual products and platforms will be determined at a later point in time.
HWZ: Some analysts expressed opinions that AMD might sell off ATI's consumer electronics IC (Xilleon, Theatre and Imageon products) division that currently caters to the Digital TV and Handheld segments to other industry players in that field already. We have our reservations on that, but how does AMD plan to leverage the CE segment gained from ATI?
Low: The PC and consumer electronics continue to converge. The CE segment gain will enable us to deliver to end users outstanding total platform solutions: more optimized technology (e.g. graphics for digital television, battery life for mobile). With this acquisition, we plan to succeed in both markets.
HWZ: On the chipset front, consumers are wary about Intel's 975X chipset continuing to offer ATI CrossFire support since the AMD-ATI merger process began. Will that technology still be supported on this and other chipsets?
Low: AMD has always believed in being customer centric. Our customers can use the chipset that is designed to best meet their technology and business needs. Our customers will continue to dictate our offerings.
** Updated on 25th September 2006 **
Editor's Note: With regards to the CrossFire support on Intel chipsets, latest news seems to have that ATI and Intel are validating CrossFire even on the Intel P965 Express chipsets. A few days earlier, MSI had announced that their high-end MSI P965 Platinum motherboard to be the first P965 Express class board to officially support ATI's CrossFire dual-graphics card technology, while the hot of the Internet, we pick news that ASUS' P5B Deluxe is soon going to have an official BIOS update to support ATI CrossFire as well. Due to the way this chipset functions, the Intel P965 Northbridge's PCIe Graphics (PEG) interface will still operate at 16x transfer rates while the secondary PEG interface will be via the Southbridge functioning at 4x transfer rates and communicates via the Digital Media Interface (DMI) that exists between the chipsets.