AMD loses two high-profile executives

Well, this can’t be good. Yesterday evening, the Wall Street Journal broke the news that AMD’s VP of Strategic Development, Bob Feldstein, has defected to Nvidia. Feldstein was purportedly "instrumental in . . . cultivating AMD’s relationship with game console makers."

When reached by the Journal, Feldstein confirmed that he left AMD on "amicable terms" on July 13 and started work at Nvidia on July 16. His LinkedIn profile still hasn’t been updated, however. It lists him as an 18-year ATI and AMD veteran, who started out as VP of Engineering at ATI in 1994 before joining AMD as part of the 2006 AMD-ATI merger. The Journal says Feldstein led AMD’s Boston Design Center, as well. His new title at Nvidia is VP of Technology Licensing.

The paper goes on to note that, according to "people familiar with the matter," Feldstein helped secure a place for AMD hardware in the next PlayStation console. That system will reportedly feature not just AMD graphics, but also an AMD processor, as well—though the Journal says Sony’s plans "could change."

Meanwhile, SemiAccurate’s Charlie Demerjian reports on another AMD executive departure: that of Ben Williams, who was AMD’s Corporate VP and General Manager of the Asia Pacific business. Demerjian says Williams also held the title of AMD Corporate Fellow. Williams’ LinkedIn profile lists his new position as VP of North America Sales for Calxeda, an Austin start-up that’s designing ARM-based processors for servers.

Williams, according to SemiAccurate, was "one of the original Opteron guys" who joined AMD from Cyrix.

Comments closed
    • HisDivineOrder
    • 7 years ago

    AMD is going down in flames. They’re all jumping ship before it’s too late. They need to get off that ship asap before the rank and file figure out why all the exec’s are fleeing. Then there’ll be that mad rush to get the few jobs available in the industry. We’ll all be a little worse for the lack of competition for Intel and nVidia, but AMD’s missteps have been far too many and far too frequent. Their new plan is a course toward oblivion.

    I’m sure nVidia and Intel’ll love adding any patents AMD has to their respective portfolios, though.

      • Ringofett
      • 7 years ago

      I used to think AMD could rise from the ashes of collapse if a deep-pocketed buyer came along, but.. seeing all the human capital flee.. and considering this sort of experience in the industry isn’t exactly a dime a dozen.. I’ve begun to wonder if we’ll have to figure out how to deal with an Intel monopoly in the near future.

      How does one even break such a company up? Standard Oil and AT&T were easy, could break them up by geographic region, division, etc. But Intel makes only one product, for the whole world, in the CPU space. Can’t break it in half and give Celeron to ‘MinIntel’ and Core to ‘Newtel’; they’re the same thing.

      I guess could fine the bejesus out of them and spread the proceeds to all these ARM upstarts, but ARM serves a different market.

        • khands
        • 7 years ago

        You’d probably have to divide it as evenly as possible all the way down to the team level, as each department would have to be duplicated in both new companies.

          • Sam125
          • 7 years ago

          This is of course under the assumption that AMD does end up ceasing to exist as an ongoing business concern.

          However, they’re still profitable, diverse and attracting new talent so it’s best not to put the horse before the cart since if they can’t start poaching executives on their own, they could always nurture their own executives from within the company.

    • ULYXX
    • 7 years ago

    Hmm, “secure” and followed by “could change”. What the hell happened there? Im lookin forward to the inside scoop if they dont go with AMD for the hardware at sony.

    • anotherengineer
    • 7 years ago

    Ah Cyril and his favourite word….”defected” (yes that’s how we spell favourite here in Canada)

    Reminds me of the early 80’s and the cold war spy’s on the news…………so & so has defected to the commies………………….

    I wonder if Joe blow quit Walmart and went to work at Home Depot, if he would make the news as Joe blow has defected to Home Depot??

      • NeelyCam
      • 7 years ago

      [quote<](yes that's how we spell favourite here in Canada)[/quote<] Why do you insist on misspelling stuff?

        • Scrotos
        • 7 years ago

        What do you expect?

        He’s Canadian! 😀

        • yogibbear
        • 7 years ago

        I stopped buying cornflakes and defected to weetbix.

        • Meadows
        • 7 years ago

        Moron.

      • dpaus
      • 7 years ago

      [quote<]that's how we spell favourite here in Canada[/quote<] ?? That's how it's spelled [i<]everywhere[/i<] the Queen's English is spoken....

        • anotherengineer
        • 7 years ago

        [url<]http://icanhascheezburger.files.wordpress.com/2007/12/funny-pictures-british-cat.jpg[/url<]

          • NeelyCam
          • 7 years ago

          NL = Netherlands

    • ronch
    • 7 years ago

    Wow, Williams was a Cyrix guy? I still love and miss Cyrix to this very day. Alas, I only had one Cyrix processor, which was a 6x86MX-PR233. I loved it!

    It was Natsemi’s doing that led to Cyrix losing focus, I reckon.

    • sschaem
    • 7 years ago

    In my experience people that have high stress job take a breather when they change company.
    for a guy that woked 18 year at ATI/AMD taking 3 days off before moving to nvidia seem.. hummm interesting.

    a) nVidia got some serious planning that involve console negotiation (possible that actually AMD loses ALL next gen console contract) or possibly, they are going after the next iTV HW.
    b) He wasn’t really working all that hard so taking 3 days off is fine with him.

    edit: I have been called a pesimist around here. ok then, option c

    c) AMD already had total domination having nintendo, sony and microsoft contracts for the next 8 years and Feldstein had nothing else to do at AMD and would have been bored so he moved on.

      • MikeimusPrime
      • 7 years ago

      July 13th was a Friday and the 16th a Monday, so he wasn’t taking any days off, it was the weekend.

        • sschaem
        • 7 years ago

        I guess he really doesn’t want any gap in his employment history 🙂

      • DeadOfKnight
      • 7 years ago

      It would be funny if he became a cutthroat executive pushing AMD out of the console market.

      “Hey guys, remember when I convinced you that AMD had the best solution? I lied.”

        • dpaus
        • 7 years ago

        “But now I’m working for Nvidia, and we only ever tell the truth. Honest. No, really. Honest, this time. For sure.”

        • BestJinjo
        • 7 years ago

        Console are extremely budget constrained and power consumption/heat dissipation limited. In this case, he did sell the best possible product to Sony. The power consumption, die sizes and performance of HD7750/7770/7850 and 7870 are unbeatable on this 28nm thus far. I have no idea what AMD GPU will go into next generation PS4, but under $250 range, AMD has NV beaten easily. Also, that’s not even taking into consideration that NV tends to charge more per GPU basis/contract terms, which is why Microsoft ditched them for Xbox360 as well. As much as I would have liked to see a GK104 in a PS4, I think it would be too expensive and still consume too much power by console standards. When next next generation consoles launch (if this isn’t the last hardware console generation), who knows what GPUs will be around in 2021-2022.

          • sweatshopking
          • 7 years ago

          the 6xx series is a smaller die and uses less power than the 7k series.

            • BobbinThreadbare
            • 7 years ago

            You have a strange definition of using less power,

            [url<]https://techreport.com/articles.x/22705/7[/url<]

            • Deanjo
            • 7 years ago

            Did you notice that ssk said 6xx series, not the 5xx series?

            • BobbinThreadbare
            • 7 years ago

            Edit: I mis read his post as 6k vs 7k.

            • Silus
            • 7 years ago

            ????

            This is a direct quote from ssk’s post: “the 6xx series is a smaller die and uses less power than the 7k series.”

            Where did he say 6XXX ? Is it too hard to read the post above yours to see your mistake instead of insisting on it ?

            • brucethemoose
            • 7 years ago

            That’s the popular myth. If you’re talking about Tahiti vs. Gk104, that’s true, as the 7970 wastes a ton of die space for GPGPU, like the GTX 580 did.

            But unlike Tahiti, Pitcairn (7870/7850) is VERY powerful for its size, and the 77xx series is too. NV has yet to challenge AMD in this area

            • Deanjo
            • 7 years ago

            Did you notice that ssk said 6xx series, not the 5xx series?

          • Silus
          • 7 years ago

          How about you look at what exactly happened between Microsoft and NVIDIA before making things up ?
          Given your comment, you seem to know nothing about the matter, so here’s how things actually happened (you can also look for yourself).
          NVIDIA had a deal with Microsoft and Microsoft bought or wanted to buy X chips from NVIDIA at Y price. But, since sales weren’t going too well, Microsoft wanted to change that deal and pay Z for each chip instead of Y (Z being lower than Y). NVIDIA disagreed because that was a breach of what was agreed and so they went to court and NVIDIA won, which isn’t surprising. Breach of contract usually results in the breaching party losing, which was Microsoft’s position in this matter.

          Now go tell anyone that you’re going to breach the contract you have with them, just because you want to and I’m sure they’ll be pleased to know it. But by your logic, apparently Microsoft was the victim!

            • Geistbar
            • 7 years ago

            Microsoft ditched NVIDIA for the 360 because they were unhappy with how the contract for them had worked out — Microsoft did not own the design for the GPU in the 360. They [i<]had[/i<] to buy it from NVIDIA, and could only get lower prices for it if NVIDIA wanted lower prices. With the 360, Microsoft owns the right to produce the GPU -- they are able to negotiate from something other than a position of weakness (not being locked to a single vendor) and can get much better rates. This also allows them to include shrunk 360 components in the Xbox3 if they want, or to be able to design emulation better. Now, you can fairly say that it was Microsoft's own fault for agreeing to a contract with NVIDIA that was relatively unfavorable, but at the same time, NVIDIA was foolish to not attempt to be flexible at all. You can't blame Microsoft for wanting to take their money elsewhere after that experience.

            • Silus
            • 7 years ago

            Who said it was unfavorable ? It wasn’t, Microsoft just assumed that the original Xbox was going to be a tremendous hit, which proved to be a big mistake. And when sales were bad, they wanted to change signed contracts. If that’s how you do business, well please go work at Microsoft. They’ll open their arms to you…

            And who says NVIDIA wasn’t flexible ? Do you know ? Do you have proof ? I certainly don’t, because the only thing gone public was the basic premise of the deal, that Microsoft wanted to pay less for each chip even though they agreed for a higher value. But no one knows the exact values. Maybe Microsoft wanted to pay much less than what was agreed on and didn’t budge. Which in turn led NVIDIA to open a suit against Microsoft and they won.
            And of course there were some discussions between NVIDIA and Microsoft to sort out the matter before going to court. Assuming that they didn’t happen (as you imply by calling NVIDIA foolish to not attempt to be flexible), is ridiculous. They just didn’t reach an agreement and Microsoft lost, because they were the ones breaching contract.

            • Geistbar
            • 7 years ago

            It was unfavorable compared to the way all those contracts work out for similar hardware. Microsoft’s mistake wasn’t to assume that the Xbox would be more popular than it was (how would that fit in here anyway? If it sold better, then Microsoft would want lower costs even more). Microsoft’s mistake was a rookie mistake of not knowing what details were important for their contract — it was their very first console after all — and putting those contracts and that console together in a very short period of time. Now as I said, they made that bed so it’s not unfair for them to have to sleep in it. It’s also not unfair of them to ditch the person that convinced them to go with crappy bedsheets.

            You’re also missing why they wanted the lower price — it’s because the chips were able to be produced cheaper than before (through a die shrink if I recall correctly). It was perfectly fair and legal for NVIDIA to say “nope”, but it also hurt their chances at getting into the 360. To say that only Microsoft lost is foolish — both parties lost. Microsoft had to spend far more money (and price the Xbox less competitively as a result) than they would have with a good contract. NVIDIA annoyed a potential customer and lost any realistic chance at being part of the next contract. The only winner was ATI.

            • Silus
            • 7 years ago

            No….it had nothing to do with die shrinks. Microsoft wanted to lower the chips price (already on the contract), because sales weren’t going too well. It was “hey NVIDIA our sales are crappy, so our profits aren’t all that great. Because of that, we also want to lower your profits, even though we had an agreement with you”

            That’s not good business. You can say it’s because they were new to consoles, but that’s a lot of BS. Microsoft is a giant in this industry and they know very well what they needed to do and as far as I’m concerned, the contract wasn’t the issue, just their estimates of how great Xbox sales would be. But NVIDIA isn’t to blame just because Microsoft’s estimates were lousy. Plus they had a contract and that’s why in court Microsoft lost and rightly so.

            And who said “only Microsoft lost” ? It certainly wasn’t me, but that’s usual around here. The thumbs down squad is here to just thumbs down, not really to read the posts…Anyway, I said that Microsoft wasn’t the victim at all. Microsoft was the one that wanted to breach contract. Since both parties didn’t settle, they went to court and NVIDIA won. Plain and simple and also how things work in the real world. You can’t just breach contract because your profits are not where you wanted them to be.
            And who’s this person they ditched for convincing them to go with crappy bedsheets ? Is this somehow referring to NVIDIA ? I certainly hope not, because that would be the dumbest thing I ever read…
            A contract is made by two or more entities agreeing on something. No party convinces the other to do what they don’t want. Unless there’s some gun pointed to their heads, which isn’t the case here. All parties analyze and agree/don’t agree with the conditions in the contract. If one ends up not being happy with the results, that’s their problem, but they still have to follow the legal and binding contract. If you break the law, you’ll face the consequences.

            And of course Microsoft has every right of choosing their next partner for their next console. But that’s not the issue here. The issue here is that the clueless blame NVIDIA for the fiasco, when it was Microsoft breaching contract. Would love to know the clueless opinion on someone breaching a contract with them. Pretty sure the tune would be different.
            It’s also funny that all the arguments blaming NVIDIA basically conclude that NVIDIA did all the wrong decisions because they had to be flexible, which is another way of saying “everyone should do exactly what Microsoft wanted”, which I’m sure you understand how stupid it is. It’s “Microsoft’s way or the highway”, but that doesn’t fly in a court of law and fortunately so.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This