AMD merges graphics, microprocessor operations

Combining the units could bring operational efficiencies to AMD

Advanced Micro Devices on Wednesday announced it was consolidating the operations of disparate business units in the company.

The intent behind the restructuring is to bring its microprocessor and graphics technologies under one roof for future integration in systems and chips, said Drew Prairie, an AMD spokesman.

Merging the CPU and graphics units brings more operational efficiency than when the units operated separately, Prairie said.

The new structure aligns product teams and creates clear lines of leadership across the technology development and sales and marketing teams, Prairie said.

No layoffs are happening as a result of the restructuring, Prairie said.

The company also has restructured operations around four new groups. The products group will be responsible for delivering graphics and microprocessor products, and will also be responsible for chip design.

The group will be led by Rick Bergman, a senior vice president at AMD who previously ran the graphics product group. The other groups include the marketing group, the customer service group and the Advanced Technology Group, which will focus on future technology development.

The internal changes are an attempt by the company to help it reach profitability after more than two fiscal years of losses. The company also recently spun off its manufacturing assets to GlobalFoundries in order to cut manufacturing costs and focus on chip design.

The restructuring also merges the ATI graphics business unit into AMD's mainstream operations.

ATI operated as a separate business unit after AMD acquired the company for US$5.4 billion in 2006. However, the acquisition hasn't shown the financial or technology benefits AMD expected to see when it announced the purchase.

Soon after the acquisition of ATI, AMD said it would develop a microprocessor that combined a graphics processing unit and CPU on a single chip.

Late last year, the company delayed the release of a CPU-GPU chip from 2009 to 2011, citing development concerns and economies of scale.

But the ATI brand won't go away after its operations are merged inside AMD, Prairie said. The company will continue to sell graphics cards under the ATI brand.

AMD also announced that Randy Allen, senior vice president of the computing solutions group, was leaving the company. Allen was previously responsible for AMD's chip products, including microprocessors and platforms.

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