It’s AMD’s 50th anniversary and we’ve been flicking through annals of AMD’s history to get a grip on the story of how AMD made it through the last half-century in one piece. It’s not been an easy ride for the Silicon Valley startup, and, as former AMD CEO Hector Ruiz (2002 – 2008) would later remark, AMD was ever-so-close to financial collapse on many occasions. One surprising little nugget shone out to me from AMD’s history, however. This was the time that AMD, suffering through Intel’s Core resurgence, managed to net itself a deal to sell its manufacturing arm to a state-owned Abu Dhabi investment company through a rather unexpected channel: the son of a famous automobile manufacturer, Piero Ferrari. Or at least that’s how Hector Ruiz tells it in his book: AMD’s Fight to Free an Industry from the Ruthless Grip of Intel, Greenleaf Book Group Press (2013). I’ll admit, the book is a little grandiose at times, but how often do you get a first-hand account of what went down within these secretive Silicon Valley companies? At least it’s a useful source about how AMD’s execs saw their own actions and its position in the market.
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