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by Mike Zazaian October 25, 2006 - 11:52am, No Comments

ATI CEO Dave Orton (left) shakes hands with AMD CEO Hector Ruiz after the merger announcement on July 24th

After several months of regulation-jumping and board-voting-formalities, AMD has officially gotten the green light to acquire graphics-leader ATI.

The acquisition, which was announced on July 24th, brought ATI to the AMD family for $5.4 billion in stock and cash. The two companies had to be given the okay by anti-trust regulators from Germany, Canada and the US in September, and needed to clear a vote from ATI shareholders on October 13th. With all these hurdles and roadblocks out of the way, ATI and AMD are officially clear to shake up the industry. Said AMD Chairman and CEO Hector Ruiz:

Today marks a historic day for our employees, our partners and our customers as we officially welcome ATI into the AMD family. On day one, we are delivering a winning set of complementary technologies, igniting a new level of innovation and continuing to champion choice for the industry. In the near term, customers gain a new level of choice, and in the long term, we believe the possibilities for innovation are truly limitless.

While ATI will be consumed under the hefty AMD umbrella, Ruiz has said that AMD will maintain ATI’s brand identity, including the familiar ATI logo.

In addition to prompting the creation of integrated graphics solutions for AMD/ATI platforms AMD has plans to produce a CPU/GPU hybrid, integrating graphics and general processing into a single chip for the first time. Dubbed, Fusion, the new CPU/GPU combo chips will be available in late 2008/early 2009, and will be developed for use in laptops, desktops, workstations, servers, and a number of other consumer electronics applications. Said Phil Hester, AMD senior vice president and chief technology officer:

With the anticipated launch of Windows Vista, robust 3D graphics, digital media and device convergence are driving the need for greater performance, graphics capabilities, and battery life. In this increasingly diverse x86 computing environment, simply adding more CPU cores to a baseline architecture will not be enough.

The Inquirer has confirmed that Nvidia will also be developing a CPU/GPU combo, after courting some workers from x86-specialist Stextar. Unlike AMD, however, Nvidia has been more tight-lipped about their plans. That said, a combo chip from Nvidia will likely be based on a 65- or 45-nanometer manufacturing process, and, like AMD’s Fusion, is due out some time in 2008.

AMD currently claims 26 percent of the processor market, with king-of-the-hill Intel claiming 72.9 percent. AMD’s margins have been growing quickly, however, as they’ve claimed nearly ten percent of their current share from Intel over the past year.

Read the AMD press release