Interesting article Jigar.
I can totally see managers thinking like he describes.
AMD wants to save money, so their management looks at ATI which heavily relies on automated layouts (as does Nvidia) for their graphics products and thinks:
It works for them, right? And it's cheaper, right?
So what could go wrong? It's proven method that's cheaper, so we're obviously throwing money away!
They may have also believed that they couldn't hit their launch window with a time-consuming hand-tuned design, and felt that they had no choice but to go with automated tools. OTOH they missed the window anyway; and how much of the delay has been due to them trying to fix the problems caused by the automated design tools?
Lack of hand-tuning also hurt them back in the Athlon XP days, when they released the "Thoroughbred" core XPs. The T-Bred was a straight die shrink of the earlier "Palomino" core, and did not perform as well as expected. It wasn't until they re-tuned the design for the smaller process that the "Thoroughbred" core really came into its own.
"There's never time to do it right, but always time to do it over."
This kind of thinking is running rampant everywhere from what I can tell. All over the place managers & leaders are looking at numbers and treating them the same as reality, ignoring the fact that the numbers are, and will always be, an abstract represention of reality, not a depiction of reality itself. That mistake is called reification, and it's turning into a big problem.
Even worse is when management tries to bend reality to their will by manipulating the numbers. I have seen situations where projects are literally managed by enabling and disabling time charge codes to control what people are (theoretically) working on! (Result: Engineers continue working on whatever they need to be working on to meet their schedules, and charge time against "overhead" instead. Management then gets royally pissed off because there's too much "overhead".
If the world isn't making sense to you, you're either drinking too much or not drinking enough.