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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
1995-1999 - From Transformation to
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,