Another Canadian tech brand disappears as AMD dumps ATI name

Advanced Micro Devices (NYSE: AMD) says it will remove the ATI name from its products by the end of the year, killing a brand name synonymous with graphics enthusiasts for 25 years.

AMD offers a range of graphics products under the ATI brand, including the Radeon, FirePro and Eyefinity offerings. The chip designer will instead attach the name AMD to those products by the end of the year, said Drew Erskine, an AMD spokesman.

The change in brand name won’t affect the company’s graphics product offerings or plans, Erskine said.

ATI was originally established in 1985 in Markham, Ont. as a graphics company and was acquired by AMD in 2007 for US$5.4 billion. At the time of the acquisition, ATI was the one of the largest graphics chip providers for consumer electronics, set-top boxes and gaming consoles. AMD said at the time it would continue to offer ATI products, and it also announced a next-generation processor design called Fusion, which would combine high-performance graphics and CPU processing on a single piece of silicon.

AMD had trouble incorporating ATI into operations, taking billions of dollars in charges that affected the company’s profitability. Observers initially declared the AMD-ATI merger a bust, but benefits are now being reaped. AMD in the second quarter of this year recorded faster year-over-year growth in the graphics market than leader Intel and rival Nvidia. After delays, chips based on the Fusion architecture are also being readied, with a chip code-named Ontario shipping in the fourth quarter.

The company always had the option to transition brand names since the merger, but Erskine said now was the right time as AMD wanted to take advantage of its growing momentum in the graphics market, Erskine said.

The change could also help give AMD more exposure. For example, Apple uses the ATI graphics in the iMac, with the ATI logo prominently displayed on Apple’s website. The logo would instead reflect AMD, which could help expand the company’s visibility.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Agam Shah
Agam Shah
Agam Shah is a reporter for the IDG News Service in New York. He covers hardware including PCs, servers, tablets, chips, semiconductors, consumer electronics and peripherals.

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