AMD Almost Acquired Nvidia But CEO Jensen Huang Saved The Day

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The Nvidia/AMD Dream Team Almost Happened!

Story Highlight
  • AMD almost bought Nvidia at one point.
  • The deal eventually fell apart, and the former ended up buying ATI Technologies.
  • Had the two merged, the GPU market would have been led by a single company.

Nvidia has surpassed Microsoft and Apple to become the most valuable company in the world. It is now unstoppable, and success is raining upon it. Despite all this, there was a time in the past when Nvidia was still facing hardships.

A former AMD engineer revealed that when Nvidia was an upstart, AMD was going to buy it. However, this did not happen, as the deal fell apart because Jensen Huang wanted to be the CEO of the merged company, and they decided to acquire ATI Technologies.

Why it matters: Nvidia is the market leader in artificial intelligence and PC gaming. Its contributions to the growth of these markets are undeniable, putting it head and shoulders above AMD.

 

The graph shows how Nvidia and AMD have changed between 2002 and 2016. At the end of 2002, Nvidia had a 65% market share, while ATI’s share was slightly less than 30% (ATI wasn’t acquired by AMD until 2006).

But in 2004, things turned around, with the Radeon X800 defeating Nvidia’s GeForce 6 to seize the lion’s share of sales. The company started to restore its advantage once AMD acquired ATI and the Radeon HD was released; although the difference was not that great in 2010, they were split 55/45.

In the middle to late 2000s, Hemant Mohapatra worked as an engineer with AMD, creating CPUs, GPUs, and APUs. He talks about how AMD had a great chance to negotiate a merger with Nvidia and take over the graphics card market entirely.

AMD vs NVIDIA GPU Market Share
AMD And Nvidia GPU Market Share via 3DCenter

However, this never happened, and instead, the company chose to purchase ATI, which at the time was Nvidia’s competitor and was starting to lose ground to it.

In today’s era, AMD can’t even come close to Nvidia in gaming GPU sales, as Nvidia has a market share of about 85% worldwide. The latter is more successful in the CPU market.

The graph above shows that AMD was always ahead of Nvidia in market capitalization until 2015. However, things changed after that because Nvidia advanced in artificial intelligence the most. If AMD had acquired Nvidia, things would have been completely different.

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