Intel 2006: Rising to the Graphics Challenge
Examines the evolution of the PC hardware industry over the span of two and a half decades. The open architecture design of the IBM Personal Computer followed by the rapid appearance of clones drove a high level of standardization and modularity in the industry, and value was distributed along the value chain depending on levels of competition and ability to substitute components at each level. On the hardware side two component segments, the microprocessor and the graphics processor unit (GPU), ultimately became the most valuable parts of the chain. The GPU business had settled into a duopoly with Nvidia, Inc. and ATI Technologies (ATI). Intel had dominated the microprocessor segment, but Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) was consistently a thorn in Intel's side. Addresses the prospects of the graphics function becoming integrated with the microprocessor on a single piece of silicon. AMD had just announced the acquisition of ATI and Paul Otellini, Intel's CEO, is faced with the question of what he should do. Should he buy Nvidia, should he continue with his own internal graphics efforts, or should he listen to some of his customers and leave things separate?