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Former AMD graphics CTO is headed to Qualcomm

Heads for the land of SoCs
Fri Feb 17 2012, 17:17

THE OUTGOING CTO of AMD graphics, Eric Demers is heading for a position at ARM system-on-chip (SoC) giant Qualcomm.

Earlier this week AMD announced that Demers would be leaving to pursue other opportunities. What wasn't clear was whether Demers would end up at a direct rival such as Intel or Nvidia, but according to an industry source close to the matter, the guy credited for ATI's highly acclaimed R300 architecture will be moving to Qualcomm.

Our chap on the inside said Demers left of his own accord and under good terms with AMD management, including the firm's high profile CTO Mark Papermaster. Demers had managed to earn recognition from rival firms, with our man saying both Intel and especially Nvidia tried to poach Demers at different times during his tenures at ATI and AMD.

Although The INQUIRER was told that AMD doesn't view Qualcomm as a competitor, few industry observers will see it that way. Although AMD has no plans to get into smartphones, it has said it wants to get into the tablet market, where Qualcomm's Snapdragon chip is a prominent choice.

Qualcomm is a pretty attractive company for a chip designer. After all the firm is one of ARM's biggest licensees and has its fingers in a lot of pies, not just SoCs. AMD on the other hand is in the midst of getting its modular processor strategy off the ground, which on paper sounds great, but few will rush to judge it a success until they see execution.

While AMD is unlikely to be very happy at seeing one of its senior staff head off to Qualcomm, we were told that the firm is confident about finding Demers' successor. We were told there are internal candidates that can be considered, along with leveraging Papermaster's 'brand' within the industry to attract talent from other firms.

Qualcomm declined to comment. µ


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