AMD has announced that it will retire the ATI brand later this year. Four years ago, AMD shocked everyone by acquiring ATI for $5.4 billion. The merger almost cost AMD dearly. The massive expense was financed through $2 million in loans and 56 million shares of AMD stock. Most pundits believed that AMD had made a blunder by coughing up so much for ATI, when it was suffering major losses in the chipset business. However, the merger also brought tangible benefits to the chipset giant. ATI’s strong performance in the recent past has helped AMD boost its brand name, and now AMD is preparing to ship Fusion APUs (CPU+GPU on a single die).
Nevertheless, AMD obviously believes that it stands to gain significantly by retiring the ATI brand name. Come 2011, all products from the Sunnyvale based semiconductor company will bear only AMD branding. According to AMD, an internal survey revealed the following key points:
- AMD brand preference triples when the person surveyed is aware of the ATI-AMD merger.
- The AMD brand is viewed as stronger than ATI when compared to graphics competitors (presumably NVIDIA).
- The Radeon and Fire Pro brands themselves (without ATI being attached to them) are very high as is.
The last point suggests that ATI products are well recognized even without the ATI branding. However, even more crucial is the revelation that most of the consumers consider AMD to be a more significant competitor to Nvidia than ATI. The GPU market has long been dominated by ATI and Nvidia.
Much like 3dfx Voodoo, ATI will always be remembered by geeks and hardware aficionados around the world. Hardcore ATI fans might be disappointed with AMD’s announcement, but at least ATI is going out with respect.