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AMD's Sanders: real men don't need fabs

Exit interview for Chimpzilla CEO
Thu Mar 21 2002, 08:11
AN INTERVIEW with AMD's CEO Jerry Sanders III, who will gracefully retire from that position in April in favour of Hector Ruiz, has revealed his thoughts about the state of the chip industry.

The interview, in Upside magazine, shows that he's re-thought his famous view of several years ago that "real men have fabs" - he says in the interview that the "Taiwan and China" syndrome has now kicked in, with TSMC, UMC and Grace Semi ruling the foundry roost.

That he should mention the last is interesting - Grace is run by the son of Chinese dictator Ziang Xemin and is a joint venture with Via.

The interview also covers AMD's plans to work closely with UMC.

But Sanders gets to his most vituperative about Intel building 12-inch fabs - his reason being that its Pentium 4 is "so goddamned big" that it needs the extra space on a 300 millimeter die. Hey Jerry, you sure about that?

He lashes out at Intel's cash reserves, marketing, "sweetheart deals" and advertising.

Next generation fabs will be built in Taiwan and China, he said, because capital is low cost there. Only Intel can afford to build fabs and everyone else is working with foundry. And he mentions Grace Semi again. A foundry is currently producing 130 nanometer Athlons but he doesn't say which one it is. When Fab 30 is at full tilt, AMD will manage to produce 50 million chips a year.

He said that when Hammer is released, it will be the fruit of his lifetime work.

Hammer, he confirmed will use 67 million transistors at 130 nanometers and be 80 square millimeters. AMD is working on the K9.

And the deal with Intel and AMD means they can use Sanders' instruction set and patents, while he - and he puts this in this personal way - can use theirs. He just can't use their buses.

He confirms he retires as CEO on April 27th and will become "like Andy Grove". Most of our readers here at the INQ want him to carry on and we suspect he probably will want to have more of an influence than chairmen normally do on day to day affairs.

But the word from within AMD is that Hector Ruiz is a very tough cookie and the quip is that the letters of the company mean "Another Motorola Division" as he's brought in so many of his former staff…

You can find much more of the Words of Sanders by going to the Upside Web site. µ

 

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