LONDON – Hector Ruiz, former CEO of Advanced Micro Devices Inc., has written a book that provides background to the company's struggle with Intel and on AMD's decision to get out of manufacturing.
Ruiz stood down as CEO in 2008 but in Slingshot: AMD's fight to free an industry from the ruthless grip of Intel, he continues to criticize AMD's rival. "We blew the top off of the industry and exposed its unsavory secrets in a way that forced Intel and computer makers to back off their backroom deals, clean up their act and refocus on what really mattered: the customer." Ruiz has written in the book, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Ruiz presided over AMD during a time when despite some engineering success it was struggling to achieve design wins and market share and the company pursued Intel through the courts alleging anti-competitive behavior.
Intel was found guilty of anti-competitive behavior in South Korea, Japan and Europe. In the United States in November 2009 New York's attorney general filed an antitrust lawsuit against Intel claiming the company used illegal methods to dominate the market for computer microprocessors. A week later AMD agreed to drop the antitrust lawsuit against Intel in exchange for $1.25 billion. Project Slingshot was the internal name of the initiative to fight Intel.
The book also goes into other controversial decisions. One was the decision to buy ATI Technologies in 2006 to obtain graphics rendering capability. AMD's first choice had been Nvidia Corp. but Ruiz reportedly reveals that the deal foundered on price and the fact the Nvidia's CEO wanted to be made chairman of AMD.
The book also sketches out how the decision to cut across Jerry Sanders' mantra that real men have fabs was enabled by a member of the Ferrari sports car family who helped broker a deal between AMD and the oil-rich country of Abu Dhabi.
"If the Abu Dhabi deal were to fall through, AMD would not survive. I had to do everything in my control to make it happen," Ruiz has written in the book, reports the Wall Street Journal.
Another ex-AMD-er that worked for both Jerry Sanders and Hector Ruiz. For Jerry, we would scale mountains and breach fire. For Hector, we would watch in disgust as he layed off employees and drove his ostentatious Hummer to work and had it watched via security cameras after it got keyed by disgruntled employees. I wonder if Hector covers his SEC insider trading scandal in his book? Does he cover his million dollar makeover of his office at Moto SPS when shedding employees? Danny1024's comments above are right on the money.
As a former AMD-er, I was saddened when Atiq Raza stepped down as President in 1999. The acquisition of NexGen (which Raza founded) in 1996 helped to push AMD ahead of Intel with the Athlon and Opteron products. It was always a "David vs. Goliath" fight, and both Jerry Sanders and Atiq Raza provided inspirational leadership. In contrast, Hector Ruiz was a completely uninspiring CEO (2004-2008). Hector was recruited by Jerry in 2000, after the AMD-Moto technology alliance. His misadventure at Globalfoundries is already mentioned in another comment.
Ditto on the pre-AMD chapters. Those were some ugly times. The most vivid memory for me, and the point where I realized I needed to work for another company, was when the sheer hubris of his "plan" was revealed at a management con-fab and I recall sitting there thinking "The Emperor wears no clothes".
It's the "Wetback" comment, dude. Everything else you wrote was in bounds: "Hector the Sector Wrector" is actually brilliant and your noting of Motorola supporting destructive policies is also appropriate. But "wetback" is totally out of place here.