I had a feeling I was going to have to write a post like this after I published that Rick Bergman left AMD. Those of you who remember the RV770 and RV870 stories may remember the name Carrell Killebrew, one of many AMDers who was instrumental in the complete turnaround of their GPU strategy. If you flip back through the RV770 story you'll remember that there was one AMD executive who supported Carrell's strategy of a small(er)-die RV770. The relevant excerpt from the RV770 story is below:
There were many individuals at ATI that were responsible for the RV770 we know today getting green lighted. ATI’s Rick Bergman was willing to put himself and his career on the line, because if this didn’t work, he’d be one to blame. Carrell recalled a story where Rick Bergman and others were at a table discussing RV770; Rick turned to Matt Skynner and asked him if he thought they could really do it, if they could make RV770 a smaller-than-NVIDIA GPU and still be successful, if it was possible to create a halo in the Performance segment. Matt apparently pondered the question, turned to Rick and said “I think we can”. Carrell felt that ATI might not have gone down that path if it weren’t for Matt Skynner’s support and Rick Bergman making sure that the project was executed as well as it ended up being.
With Bergman gone, I was afraid Carrell would follow. Unfortunately, it's a lot worse. Not only is Carrell Killebrew gone, but around 10% of AMD's workforce join him in yesterday's announced layoffs. Many of the PR people we work with at AMD are now gone, as well as higher ups like Carrell Killebrew and Patrick Moorhead.
I'd like to wish all of the AMDers the best of luck going forward. The beauty of the tech industry is there are always options. Hopefully we'll see some of these folks appear at Apple, Intel, NVIDIA and Qualcomm.