AMD to retire ATI brand

Four years after acquiring graphics card vendor ATI Technologies, the chipmaker is saying saynora to the ATI brand and rebranding the products under its own name.

AMD is shedding the ATI Technologies name from the remaining graphics products that it picked up after it bought the company in 2006.

The chip company grabbed ATI four years ago for $5.4 billion as a way to gain traction in the graphics card and chipset market. Although AMD renamed its new acquisition AMD Graphics Product Group, the ATI name stuck as one popular among gamers and video aficionados.

But based on market research and an eye toward promoting upcoming new products, AMD felt that consumers would be familiar enough with the AMD name on its own. The company said it conducted surveys of several thousand people across the United States, the United Kingdom, China, and other countries "aware" of discrete graphics. In reviewing the results, the survey uncovered three important points:

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  1. AMD brand preference triples when the person surveyed is aware of ATI-AMD merger.
  2. AMD brand stronger than ATI vs. graphics competitors.
  3. Radeon and Fire Pro brand awareness and consideration very high.

All three points indicate that the ATI brand name apparently is no longer needed to drive in customers, even when facing rivals such as Nvidia. They also point to the AMD name and the name of the products themselves as the key selling points.

Plus, the ATI brand is not as prominent or pervasive as it once was. The only two products still tagged with the ATI name are the Radeon and FirePro graphics cards, which are strong enough to stand on their own, according to the third point.

The switch to the AMD name will start later this year, but only for new products. Existing products will keep the ATI moniker.

The company is also eyeing its upcoming AMD Fusion processors as the way to unite AMD and ATI under the AMD brand. Fusion will combine the CPU and GPU onto one single integrated chip, with one version, dubbed "bulldozer," designed for servers and high-end desktops, and another version, known as "bobcat," geared toward Netbooks and lower-end notebooks. Fusion is scheduled to hit the market by the end of this year with AMD's Ontario line, followed by the Llano line in the first half of 2011.

Updated at 10 a.m. PDT with more details from AMD.

About the author

Journalist, software trainer, and Web developer Lance Whitney writes columns and reviews for CNET, Computer Shopper, Microsoft TechNet, and other technology sites. His first book, "Windows 8 Five Minutes at a Time," was published by Wiley & Sons in November 2012.

 

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