Intel during "the dark time" made a huge number of mistakes that were discussed because they were in 2nd, choosing Rambus, the 810 chipset disaster, the P3 1133 recall, the original P4 and all that followed, disappointments all to varying degree's.
AMD's habit of being late with every cpu update got ignored, when AMD botched The XP launch it was ok because history views the victor and the loser differently.... to say "they shouldn't have made mistakes" is easy, the hard part is not making them as proven by Intel & AMD.
I'm not sure what you're getting at, but I'll try to understand your point.
Like you, I've been following the chip industry closely for the majority of my years and I know how things go, at least from the view of an outsider who doesn't work for Intel or AMD. And so, I know this business is fraught with risk. Pour a ton of cash into R&D and then five years later you'll find out if you made the right bets or you shot yourself in the foot.
Fact is, it's no secret that AMD shot itself in the foot too many times. It's one thing to be 10x smaller than your competitor, but if David shot himself in the foot with his slingshot too many times there's just no way he can win the fight. I'm not saying Hector could have avoided all the foot-shooting here, but somebody's got to be accountable. In one of Hector's videos
I saw on Youtube, it was Mr. Ruiz himself who said it's the top people within an organization that ultimately has to take responsibility for what goes on. Well, it's quite fair to hold him to his word, isn't it?
Thing is, nobody is ignoring AMD's missteps the same way nobody is ignoring Intel's mistakes. You do something wrong in this industry and you attract attention and pay the price. And it's not just Intel or AMD that are subject to this. As a matter of fact, countless articles have placed AMD in the limelight and talked about how AMD fouled up or did things right. Same thing with Intel. The difference is that there were times when people were willing to grant AMD some leniency due to their limited resources compared to the big 800-lb. gorilla, but their mistakes have nonetheless been brought to light just like Intel's mistakes were. Nobody's ignoring their foul ups. And being someone who's practically relied on AMD for most of his computing years, I certainly never ignore AMD's mistakes. I grant them some leniency, perhaps, just like many others out there do, but that's it.
regarding the ATI acquisition, AMD at the time was a cpu maker, no server business, dependent on 3rd party motherboard support, no gfx, not even audio.
Hector got AMD into server just in time, got AMD a complete platform just in time and had he not bought ATI when he did AMD would never had the opportunity, so where would AMD be now if they were still dependent on VIA for their motherboards and had no server revenue that only recently stopped coming in..... with no platform to offer they wouldn't be in all of the next generation consoles
Er, no. Back in 2006 it was true that AMD was only involved in making CPUs, but to say that they had no server business is simply wrong. In fact, if we go back and read this article
, you'll recall that in 2006 AMD was already controlling 22% of the server market, and that's with no server platform to offer themselves and instead relying on third-party chipset vendors. That's a lot for a scrappy company that even Hector claims isn't making as much money as they possibly could due to Intel's crazy underhanded tactics. And VIA, well, to say it's a good thing that AMD is making their own chipsets today because VIA is such a scrappy company today is wrong. It was Intel's and AMD's decision to make their own chipsets that drove the likes of VIA and SiS into other areas of computing.
So who really made AMD enter the server business? Was it Hector? Or was it Jerry? Jerry tried to enter the server business as early as the K7 days. They first tried to make a name for themselves by targeting the enthusiast market (e.g. gamers) and attracting attention from the big guys later on. And it was Jerry who had the grand dream of gatecrashing Intel's 64-bit party and coming up with the K8. When he left AMD, K8 was almost done and Hector just had to finish it and peddle it. However, it was Hector's responsibility to chart what happens next for AMD after
K8, and that was Barcelona, which wasn't really very competitive. Remember, back then AMD cannot ignore the importance of its CPU business. Acquiring ATI was a good move but they can't take their eyes off their CPU business. The ideas behind Bulldozer were also established during Hector's tenure as CEO. They went for high core count instead of high per-core IPC, a bet that proved to be destructive for AMD's current offerings.
The graphics and chipset IP acquired from ATI are different things, and have practically nothing to do with AMD's server market share except if you insist that they'll only be able to sell server CPUs if they bundle the chipset in as well. Obviously, that wasn't the case because AMD was riding high in the server market even before acquiring ATI.
As for graphics, it's starting to pay off these days but it sure is very late. It took AMD five years since acquiring ATI to come up with APU products. Of course, that wasn't all under Hector's watch, but still, the melding of the two companies could have been done more efficiently from the onset, which was during Hector's time as CEO. Anyway, when I said that they could have spent that $5B to develop their own graphics division, I'm not stating that as something they really should have done. It's a bit of speculation... a 'what if', if you may. Of course it's difficult to start a graphics powerhouse even with all the money in the world. Heck, Intel proves that.
the lawsuit was a job for the legal department, Hector gave the lawyers something to chew on and then asked for an occasional update, he did not believe it would fix all of AMD's woes, it's just something else that went on while Intel regained the lead.
Yes, but lawsuits cost money. Hector himself said (in the video above) that AMD's lawsuit against Intel was 'of biblical proportions'. It wasn't cheap, that's for sure. Of course, one could argue that it's probably nowhere near what AMD got from Intel in return ($1.2B) but AMD got that money way after Hector's watch so while the lawsuits are going on and the lawyer's bills were piling up, AMD needed to pay them up front, not when Intel finally paid them $1.2B. Part of what corporations do, I know, which leads me to our next paragraph....
"AMD should have looked outside of X86".... sure, maybe in the abstract they should have but to explore those options would have drained from existing operations, something you have already said was a bad idea, so what options was an X86 centric company supposed to explore? additionally you are asking AMD to see what was on the horizon that Intel didn't see, you are asking that AMD, a company that was earning 95% of it's revenue from X86 to invest in other avenues..... and this while competing with a corporation that has 10X's the resources AMD has?
Intel didn't see it. But TI, Nvidia, Qualcomm, Apple, Samsung, etc. saw it. Even Taiwanese MediaTek saw it and is now inside smartphones when AMD isn't. So to say that it was impossible for AMD to see it back then is being too lenient on AMD and its past management. This is what I was talking about when I said Hector's main role os charting AMD's direction. By the looks of the book Hector wrote, it seems like his main agenda was forcing Intel to play fair in the x86 industry through lawsuits. You know, to 'free an industry from the grips of Intel.' All this happened while the industry started to shift away without Intel and AMD.
was Hector Ruiz the best man for the job? no, was he terrible? no, did he do a decent job, I'm inclined to believe he did a decent job of leading AMD, Gerry Sanders left the mess, he crippled AMD just before he left, spend some time looking into it.
Look, I'm not hating Hector here. In fact, I have much respect for the man and you'd better believe it. What I'm doing here is analyzing what he has done, both good and bad, and speculating about what he could've done better. Nothing more. He was responsible for a company that has been no stranger to difficult times and he probably would have had a much easier life leading Motorola's division than running AMD. He took the challenge of running AMD and I applaud him for that. It's a VERY difficult job! Heck, running AMD is surely far more difficult than running Intel because AMD needs to make the most of what it has and keep on its toes with their eyes wide open for any opportunity that may come along while Intel can doze off in the sun, wake up, and use its money and talent to bash whoever woke it up by kicking sand in its face.
If you can't be trusted with small things, how can you be trusted with big things?