AMD now worth less than it paid for ATI

Written by Tim Smalley

December 10, 2007 | 08:28

Tags: #core #geforce #less #market #phenom #radeon

Companies: #amd #ati #intel #nvidia

AMD reached its lowest share price for more than four years last week and, as a result, its market value dropped to around US$5 billion – that's $400 million less than it paid for ATI in July 2006.

Intel, AMD’s major competitor in the CPU business, has been on a roll for the past 18 months and is now worth around US$162 billion, which makes the chip giant more than 32 times the size of AMD in monetary terms.

Even worse for AMD is that its partner-cum-archrival, Nvidia, has a market cap of around $19 billion, which makes it almost four times as valuable as the struggling platform company.

It’s fair to say things haven’t been going well for AMD since the middle of last year, as its two major rivals launched products that remain largely uncontested even today. Neither the Core 2 Extreme QX6700 nor the GeForce 8800 GTX have been truly surpassed in terms of performance yet and it’s not going to happen until next year.

There are no two ways about it: the Phenom launch was a disappointment. This was largely down to the fact that the company found an erratum in the L3 cache Translation Lookup Buffer, which could cause serious system instabilities in certain scenarios and it prevented the company from launching a 2.4GHz Phenom CPU at the eleventh. AMD issued a TLB fix to motherboard manufacturers to implement into their BIOSes and when the results for the TLB fix came out, it wasn’t pretty.

This wasn’t all that disappointed us about the Phenom launch though, as AMD also prevented all but a select few publications from running their own independent benchmarks on the new CPUs before the launch. I don’t think there was any malice in that choice personally, but it didn’t really help AMD’s street cred when, come launch day, reviews were few and far between.

It’s not all doom and gloom though, because I consider the Radeon HD 3800-series’ launch to have been a success, even though there is a shortage of hardware in the channel at the moment.

Let’s hope that AMD’s fortunes in 2008 change for the better because as an industry we need AMD to continue to innovate and deliver great choice to consumers. In recent times, we wouldn’t have had great products like the GeForce 8800 and Core 2, if it wasn' for AMD's forward-thinking innovations like the Athlon 64 and Radeon X1900-series, which were class leading products at their time of introduction (and continued to be class-leading for much of their lives).

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