The move will open up the marketplaces for ATI’s card-manufacturing partners, such as Gigabyte Technology and CP Technology. For the European and North American markets, ATI will keep providing self-made graphics cards, but will arrange its shipments according to its manufacturing partners’ supply capacity. With the outsourcing efforts, the overall ratio of ATI-made products is estimated to drop further from below 50% currently to 20-30% by the end of this year.The move shouldn't be a total shock, especially since ATI has been looking to certify the quality of graphics boards from third party partners. Considering the rather loose certification criteria that ATI has presented thus far, "Built by ATI" still inspires more confidence than "Certified by ATI," at least for me.
I would hope that if ATI intends to eventually pull out of the graphics card market (with the exception of All-In-Wonder and FireGL products), they would at least develop more stringent partner certification criteria. Sure you can put RAMDACs directly on the GPU, but there are still plenty of ways a third party board manufacturer can ruin a graphics card.