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AMD merges graphics, microprocessor operations

Combining the units could bring operational efficiencies to AMD

Advanced Micro Devices on Wednesday announcedit was consolidating the operations of disparate business units in thecompany.

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

Merging the CPU and graphics units brings more operational efficiency thanwhen the units operated separately, Prairie said. The new structure alignsproduct teams and creates clear lines of leadership across the technologydevelopment and sales and marketing teams, Prairie said. No layoffs arehappening as a result of the restructuring, Prairie said.

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

Thegroup will be led by Rick Bergman, a senior vice-president at AMD whopreviously ran the graphics product group. The other groups include themarketing group, the customer service group and the Advanced TechnologyGroup, which will focus on future technology development.

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

The restructuring also merges the ATI graphics business unit into AMD’smainstream operations. ATI operated as a separate business unit after AMDacquired the company for US$5.4 billion in 2006. However, the acquisitionhasn’t shown the financial or technology benefits AMD expected to see whenit announced the purchase.

Soon after the acquisition of ATI, AMD said it would develop amicroprocessor that combined a graphics processing unit and CPU on a singlechip. Late last year, the company delayed the release of a CPU-GPU chip from2009 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 ATIbrand.

AMD also announced that Randy Allen, senior vice president of the computingsolutions group, was leaving the company. Allen was previously responsiblefor AMD’s chip products, including microprocessors and platforms.