You may not know this, but your computer or smartphone likely has an AMD graphics processor. For those who are tech geeks, you might be familiar with AMD, but do you know who actually invented AMD and when?
In this article, we’ll explore the history of AMD, the people behind its creation, and the current CEO, who has played a massive role in making AMD a major force in the tech world.
What is AMD?
AMD (Advanced Micro Devices) is a multinational semiconductor company that designs and produces computer processors, graphics processors, and other computer-related components. The company has its headquarters in Santa Clara, California.
AMD is a major competitor to Intel in the computer processor market. Its processors are used in a wide range of devices, including desktop and laptop computers, gaming consoles, and servers. In addition, AMD produces graphics processors (GPUs) for gaming and professional applications, such as video editing and scientific simulations.
The company has built a reputation for producing processors and graphics cards that offer high performance at a lower cost than its competitors. To keep abreast of development in the technology arena, AMD is continuously innovating in related fields and has already made significant advancements in areas such as energy efficiency and virtualization.
Who Invented AMD?
Jerry Sanders and seven other co-founders founded AMD. Sanders, who was the company’s first CEO, had previously worked at Fairchild Semiconductor and had an extensive background in the semiconductor industry.
The co-founders of AMD who helped establish the company were:
- Jerry Sanders
- Edwin Turney
- Jack Gifford
- John Carey
- Sven Simonsen
- Frank Botte
- Ray Davis
- Jim Giles
These individuals played vital roles in the early years of AMD, helping to establish the company and build its foundation in the semiconductor industry. While it’s difficult to pinpoint one specific “inventor” of AMD, the contributions of these co-founders were critical to the company’s success.
The initial focus of AMD was on producing logic circuits and integrated circuits for the computer industry. Then, in the early 1970s, the company began developing its own microprocessors, eventually becoming one of its key focus areas.
AMD’s first commercially successful microprocessor was the AMD Am386, which the company released in 1991. The company has continued to develop and produce an impressive range of processors and other semiconductor products since then.
When was AMD Founded?
AMD was invented in 1969, a year after its main competitor, Intel, was formed. The company initially focused on producing and supplying microchips for the calculator industry.
Later, in the 1980s, the company shifted its focus to the personal computer market and began producing microprocessors. At that time, the PC market was booming, and it made perfect sense to develop competitive products to capture a slice of the growing market.
Who is the CEO of AMD Now?
Dr. Lisa T. Su is AMD’s current CEO, appointed in 2014. Lisa Su is a trained electrical engineer and, like the eight co-founders of AMD, she was previously employed by Freescale Semiconductor, Inc., where she was Senior Vice President and General Manager of Networking and Multimedia.
Before she joined Freescale Semiconductor, Lisa Su worked at IBM for 13 years in various engineering and business leadership roles, including Vice President of the Semiconductor Research and Development Center.
Dr. Su is well respected in the industry and has been awarded various national and international awards for her achievements. In 2021, she was awarded the highest semiconductor honor, the Robert N. Noyce Medal, and was appointed by President Biden to the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. She also serves as a director on the board of the Semiconductor Industry Association and has been a member of the Cisco Systems, Inc. board of directors since January 2020.
How Did AMD Become Successful in a Competitive CPU Market?
In the summer of 2015, AMD faced possible bankruptcy amid declining PC sales. So, it was entirely understandable that investors started selling off AMD shares. At that time, AMD and other PC-related chip stocks, such as Intel, were what many saw as a dying product. In addition, Apple and Samsung introduced consumers to smartphones and tablets, and the need for PCs was declining.
Lisa Su took the reins at AMD a year earlier, but investors were unsure whether her turnaround strategy for AMD would be successful.
Nevertheless, AMD implemented Lisa Su’s plans, and the company became successful in the CPU market by focusing on innovation and performance while offering competitive pricing.
In the early 2000s, AMD introduced the Athlon processor, outperforming Intel’s Pentium 4 in many areas. Introducing these products was a significant achievement for AMD and helped establish the company as a serious competitor to Intel.
AMD also focused on developing more energy-efficient processors with better thermal performance, making them popular in the server market. These product innovations led to AMD winning significant contracts with major server manufacturers, including Dell, HP, and IBM.
In recent years, AMD has continued to innovate, introducing new architectures such as the Ryzen and Threadripper processors. These processors offer high core counts, excellent performance, and competitive pricing, making them popular with gamers, content creators, and other power users.
Overall, AMD’s success in the CPU market resulted from a combination of innovation, performance, and pricing and its ability to compete effectively with Intel, a dominant player in the market then.
Who are the Current Owners of AMD?
AMD’s top shareholders include Dr. Lisa T. Su, Harry A. Wolin, Mark D. Papermaster, Vanguard Group. Inc., BlackRock. Inc., and State Street Corp.
The following are the top three insider shareholders on AMD’s board of directors:
- Dr. Lisa Su owns 0.22% of the company’s outstanding shares with 2.7 million. Su is AMD’s President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), both of which since 2014. Dr. Su also serves on the board of directors. Prior, she served as AMD’s Chief Operating Officer for a brief period beginning in July 2014.
- Harry A. Wolin owns 1.5 million AMD shares, 0.13% of AMD’s total outstanding shares. He is Senior Vice President, General Counsel, and Corporate Secretary at AMD.
- Mark Papermaster owns 0.12% of the company, or 1.4 million shares. Papermaster is AMD’s Chief Technology Officer (CTO) and Executive Vice President of Technology and Engineering.
In addition to the inside shareholders, let’s talk about AMD’s top 3 institutional shareholders that hold between 67 and 69% of AMD’s total shares outstanding.
- Vanguard Group, Inc. owns 8.45% of AMD at 136,198,548 shares for the period ending December 31, 2022. The market value of these shares is $13.19 billion.
- BlackRock, Inc. owns 7.50%, or 120,838,294 shares, for the period ending December 31, 2022. The market value of the shares is $11.70 billion.
- State Street Corp. is the third largest of the institutional shareholders of AMD, with 63,933,172 shares as of December 31, 2022, or over 3.97% of the company, and it’s worth is set at $6.19 billion.
AMD: From Near Bankruptcy to a Major Player in the CPU and GPU Markets
AMD’s journey from near bankruptcy in 2015 to noteworthy success is a remarkable story in the technology industry. In the early 2000s, AMD struggled to compete with its larger rival, Intel, in the CPU market. As a result, the company was losing market share and was facing financial difficulties.
However, in the mid-2000s, AMD began to turn things around. One of the key turning points was the launch of its Athlon 64 processor in 2003, which offered strong performance at a lower price point than Intel’s offerings. These actions helped AMD gain market share and establish itself as a serious competitor to Intel.
In the following years, AMD continued to innovate with new CPU and GPU offerings, including the launch of its Ryzen and EPYC processors, which were well-received by consumers and helped the company gain market share. In addition, AMD’s focus on performance, power efficiency, and price competitiveness helped it win over customers from Intel and other competitors.
AMD has had a profound impact on the technology industry and the world at large, becoming a global leader in technology. Now that you know who actually invented AMD and when, the next time you use a computer or smartphone, take a moment to appreciate the legacy of the visionary founders who brought AMD to life.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©Ralf Liebhold/Shutterstock.com.