AMD Home
Back to home page

History
Rule


As the AMD story has unfolded, our productlines have expanded, ourculture has evolved, and the individual successes of our people have grown. Here's a brief summary of the nearly three decades that have passed -- and a very favorable indication of the years that lie ahead.

Among the things that unite AMD employees around the globe is a history highlighted by remarkable achievement. Since 1969, AMD has grown from a fledgling start-up, headquartered in the living room of one of its founders, to a global corporation with annual revenues of $2.4 billion. The events that shaped AMD's growth, the strengths that will drive our future success, and a timeline encompassing AMD's defining moments are featured here.

1969-74 - Finding Opportunity

By May 1, 1969, Jerry Sanders and seven others had been toiling for months to pull together their scrappy start-up. The year before, Jerry had left his job as director of worldwide marketing at Fairchild Semiconductor, and he now found himself heading a team committed to a well-defined mission--building a successful semiconductor company by offering building blocks of ever-increasing complexity to benefit the manufacturers of electronic equipment in the computation, communication and instrumentation markets.

Although the company was initially headquartered in the living room of one of the co-founders, John Carey, it soon moved to two rooms in the back of a rugcutting company in Santa Clara. By September, AMD had raised the money it needed to begin manufacturing products and moved into its first permanent home, 901 Thompson Place in Sunnyvale.

During the company's first years, the vast majority of its products were alternate-source devices, products obtained from other companies that were then redesigned for greater speed and efficiency. "Parametric superiority" were the watchwords of AMD even then. To give the products even more of a selling edge, the company instituted a guarantee of quality unprecedented in the industry--all products would be made and tested to stringent MIL-STD-883, regardless of who the customer was and at no extra cost.

By the end of AMD's fifth year, there were nearly 1,500 employees making over 200 different products--many of them proprietary-and bringing in nearly $26.5 million in annual sales.

FLASHBACK
May 1, 1969--AMD incorporates with $100,000.
September 1969--The company moves to new headquarters at 901 Thompson Place, Sunnyvale.
November 1969--First good die emerges from Fab 1, the Am9300, a 4-bit MSI shift register.
May 1970--AMD ends its first year with 53 employees and 18 products, but still no sales.
1970--First proprietary product introduced, the Am2501.
November 1972--Producing wafers in newly built 902 Thompson Place.
September 1972--AMD goes public, issuing 525,000 shares at $15 a share.
January 1973--First overseas manufacturing base in Penang, Malaysia, in volume production.
1973--Profit-sharing is implemented.
1974--AMD closes fifth fiscal year with $26.5 million in sales.

1974-79 - Defining the Future

AMD's second five years gave the world a taste of the company's most enduring trait--tenaciousness. Despite a dogged recession in 1974-75, when sales briefly slipped, the company grew during this period to $168 million, representing an average annual compound growth rate of over 60 percent.

On its fifth anniversary, AMD began what was to become a renowned tradition--it held a gala party, this one a street fair attended by employees and their families.

This was also a period of tremendous facilities expansion, including the construction of 915 DeGuigne in Sunnyvale, opening an assembly facility in Manila, Philippines, and expanding the Penang factory.

FLASHBACK
May 1974--To commemorate its fifth anniversary, AMD holds employee street fair and gives away a TV, 10-speed bikes and barbecues.
1974--915 DeGuigne Building in Sunnyvale completed.
1974-75--Recession causes AMD to implement 44-hour workweek for professional personnel.
1975--AMD enters the RAM market with the AM9102.
1975--"People first, products and profit will follow." -Jerry Sanders
1975--AMD's product line includes the 8080A standard processor and the AM2900 family.
1976--AMD's first big Christmas Party held at Rickey's Hyatt House in Palo Alto.
1976--AMD and Intel sign patent cross-license agreement.
1977--Siemens and AMD established Advanced Micro Computers (AMC)
1978--AMD opens an assembly facility in Manila.
1978--The company reaches major sales milestone: $100 million annualized run rate.
1978--Groundbreaking on manufacturing facility in Austin.
1979--Production started in Austin.
1979--Company shares listed on New York Stock Exchange.

1980 - 1983 - Finding Pre-eminence

The early 1980s were defined for AMD by two now-famous symbols. The first, called the "Age of Asparagus," represented the company's drive to increase the number of proprietary products offered to the marketplace. Like this lucrative crop, proprietary products take time to cultivate, but eventually bring excellent return on the initial investment. The second symbol was a giant ocean wave. The focus of "Catch the Wave" recruiting advertisements, the wave portrayed by the company as an unstoppable force in the integrated circuit business.

And unstoppable we were. AMD became a leader in investment into research and development. By the end of fiscal year 1981, the company had more than doubled its sales over 1979. Plants and facilities expanded with an emphasis on building in Texas. New production facilities were built in San Antonio, and more fab space was added to Austin as well. AMD had quickly become a major contender in the world semiconductor marketplace.

FLASHBACK
1980--Josie Lleno wins $1,000 a month for 20 years at "Christmas in May" party at San Jose Convention Center.
1981--AMD chips fly aboard Columbia Space Shuttle.
1981--San Antonio facility is constructed.
1981--AMD and Intel renew and expand their original cross-licensing agreement.
1982--First product line (MMP) begins operation in Austin with four employees.
1982--AMD and Intel sign technology exchange agreement centering on the iAPX86 family of microprocessors and peripherals.
1983--AMD introduces INT.STD.1000, the highest quality standard in the industry.
1983--AMD Singapore incorporated.

1984-1989 - Weathering Hard Times

AMD celebrated its 15th year with one of the best sales years in company history. In the months following AMD's anniversary, employees received record-setting profit sharing checks and celebrated Christmas with musical group Chicago in San Francisco and Joe King Carrasco and the Crowns in Texas.

By 1986, however, the tides of change had swept the industry. Japanese semiconductor makers came to dominate the memory markets--up until now a mainstay for AMD--and a fierce downturn had taken hold of the computer market, limiting demand for chips in general. AMD, along with the rest of the semiconductor industry, began looking for new ways to compete in an increasingly difficult environment.

By 1989, Jerry Sanders was talking about transformation: changing the entire company to compete in new markets. AMD began building its submicron capability with the Submicron Development Center.

FLASHBACK
1984--Construction begins on the Bankok facility.
1984--Construction begins on Bldg. 2 in Austin.
1984--AMD is listed in "The 100 Best Companies to Work for in America" book.
1985--AMD makes list of Fortune 500 for first time.
1985--Fabs 14 and 15 begin operation in Austin.
1985--AMD launches the Liberty Chip campaign.
1986--The 29300 family 0f 32-bit chips is introduced.
1986--AMD introduces the industry's first 1-million-bit EPROM.
October 1986--Weakened by the long-running recession, AMD announces its first workforce restructure in over a decade.
September 1986--Tony Holbrook named president of the company.
1987--AMD establishes a CMOS technology with Sony.
April 1987--AMD initiates arbitration action against Intel.
April 1987--AMD and Monolithic Memories Inc. agree to merge.
October 1988--SDC groundbreaking.

1989-94 - Making the Transformation

Finding new ways to compete led to the concept of AMD's "Spheres of Influence." For the transforming AMD, those spheres were microprocessors compatible with IBM computers, networking and communication chips, programmable logic devices, and high-performance memories. In addition, the company's long survival depended on developing submicron process technology that would fill its manufacturing needs into the next century.

By its 25th anniversary, AMD had put to work every ounce of tenaciousness it had to achieve those goals. Today, AMD is either #1 or #2 worldwide in every market it serves, including the Microsoft® Windows-compatible business, where the company has overcome legal obstacles to produce its own versions of the wildly popular Am386® and Am486® microprocessors. AMD has become a pre-eminent supplier of flash, EPROM, networking, telecommunications and programmable logic chips as well. And it is well on its way to bringing up another high-volume production area devoted to submicron devices. For the past three years, the company has enjoyed record sales and record operation income.

AMD looks very different today than it did 25 years ago. But it is still the tough, determined competitor it always was, weathering every challenge because of the unending strength of its people.

FLASHBACK
May 1989--AMD establishes office of the chief executive, consisting of top three company executives.
May 1990--Rich Previte becomes president and chief operation officer. Tony Holbrook continues as chief technical officer and becomes vice chairman of the board.
September 1990--Silicon starts through the SDC.
March 1991--AMD introduces the AM386 microprocessor family, breaking the Intel monopoly.
October 1991--AMD ships its millionth Am386.
February 1992--Five-year arbitration with Intel ends, with AMD awarded full rights to make and sell the entire Am386® family of microprocessors.
April 1993--AMD and Fujitsu establish joint venture to produce flash memories.
April 1993--First members of the Am486® microprocessor family are introduced.
July 1993--Groundbreaking of Fab 25 in Austin.
1993--Plans for the AMD-K5 project are announced.
January 1994--Compaq Computer Corp. and AMD form long-term alliance under which Am486 microprocessors will power Compaq computers.
February 1994--AMDers begin moving into One AMD Place in Sunnyvale.
February 1994--Digital Equipment Corp. becomes foundry for Am486 microprocessors.
March 10, 1994--Federal court jury confirms AMD's right to Intel microcode in 287 math coprocessor trial.
May 1, 1994--AMD celebrates 25th anniversary with Rod Stewart in Sunnyvale and Bruce Hornsby in Austin.

1995-1999 - From Transformation to Transcendence

AMD's growth through the rest of the century will likely be fueled by the exploding demand for mobile computing and telecommunications devices, two markets for which AMD has spent years developing products. Key to the company's success will be building close relationships with its customers, and continuing to develop the manufacturing and process technologies necessary to produce future-generation submicron devices.

One thing is for certain, AMD's future will be shaped by the same principles that are woven into its past: a competitive drive, a focus on customers, innovative new products, and the ability to learn and adapt to change. Most of all, the company's future will be shaped by AMDers, the people whose efforts created a successful, and now legendary, company.

FLASHBACK
1995--Construction begins on the Fujitsu-AMD Semiconductor Limited (FASL) joint venture facility.
1995--Fab 25 is completed.
1996--AMD acquires NexGen.
1996--AMD breaks ground for Fab 30 in Dresden.
1997--AMD introduces AMD-K6® processor.
1998--AMD unveils AMD Athlon™ processor (formerly code-named K7) at Microprocessor Forum.
1998--AMD and Motorola annouce long alliance to develop copper interconnect technology and flash memory products.
1999--AMD celebrates its 30th anniversary.
1999--AMD introduces AMD Athlon™ processor, the world's first seventh-generation procecessor for Microsoft Windows® computing.
2000--AMD announces Hector Ruiz is appointed president and COO
2000--AMD Japan celebrates 25 year anniversary
2000--AMD's first quarter sales break 1 billion dollars for first time in company history
2000--AMD announces agreement to sell Communication Product Division to Francisco Partners
2000--AMD commences first revenue shipments from Dresden Fab 30
2001--AMD cements plans for Hector Ruiz to succeed Jerry Sanders as CEO at 2002 Shareholders Meeting