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AMD's Bob Feldstein leaves for Nvidia

AMD's Bob Feldstein leaves for Nvidia

Bob Feldstein, the man responsible for securing deals to get AMD's graphics hardware in next-generation consoles, is defecting to bitter rival Nvidia.

AMD's vice president in charge of business development and the man believed to be responsible for AMD's successes in the console market has left the company, moving to long-time rival Nvidia.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Bob Feldstein - formerly of ATI, then AMD when the latter acquired the former back in 2006 - is to be thanked for the wealth of AMD graphics hardware rumoured to be heading to next-generation games consoles from Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft.

The Wall Street Journal quotes Nvidia's Bob Sherbin as confirming the hire, which saw Feldstein's last day at AMD fall on a rather ominous Friday the 13th this month, and stating that he will 'help [Nvidia] think through current and possible future technology licensing projects.' The specifics of Feldstein's role at the company have not yet been provided, and Feldstein has yet to update his LinkedIn profile to provide a clue.

It's a major blow for AMD, which has seen several high-ranking executives depart for pastures new in recent months including graphics chief technology officer Eric Demers, chief executive Dirk Meyer and senior vice president Rick Bergman to name but a few. This departure, claimed to be on amicable terms, will hurt AMD doubly, however: unlike others, who left to join companies like Qualcomm who don't directly compete with AMD, Feldstein is going to work for AMD's bitter rival Nvidia.

What this means for the red-versus-green battle in the graphics market is, at present, unclear. Presuming that the next-generation graphics deals for AMD are signed in ink - and with Nintendo well along the way to launching its AMD-powered WiiU console, that's at least one deal signed and sealed - Nvidia won't be able to use Feldstein's contacts and knowledge to gain a foothold. There's always the next generation, however - and Nvidia's Tegra line of low-powered system-on-chip designs gives it a major selling point for embedded systems and mobile devices which Feldstein could well use against his former employer.

22 Comments

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kosch 24th July 2012, 13:29 Quote
Maybe he is on a secret mission to destroy the green camp from the inside? Total Recall style!
Scroome 24th July 2012, 16:34 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by kosch
Maybe he is on a secret mission to destroy the green camp from the inside? Total Recall style!

Sigh, If only.

Most likely, Nvidia did it's usual "TAKE ALL THE MONIES"
Star*Dagger 24th July 2012, 17:07 Quote
nVidia is a sad sad company.
schmidtbag 24th July 2012, 17:16 Quote
if enough of these people leave, whoever is left over that didn't leave within the past couple years is probably person behind everyone wanting to leave, and who knows maybe that person is the one holding back the entire company and possibly the reason why AMD processors aren't as popular.
theshadow2001 24th July 2012, 21:15 Quote
I'm suprised there is no non compete clause in his contract
schmidtbag 24th July 2012, 22:28 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by theshadow2001
I'm suprised there is no non compete clause in his contract

I thought the same thing, but he likely doesn't have any architecture or source code info - he's basically just administration/management, so he probably only knows about AMD's future plans and financial status.
JulianCA 24th July 2012, 22:34 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by schmidtbag
Quote:
Originally Posted by theshadow2001
I'm suprised there is no non compete clause in his contract

I thought the same thing, but he likely doesn't have any architecture or source code info - he's basically just administration/management, so he probably only knows about AMD's future plans and financial status.

No, non-compete clauses are invalid in California. You can move around to all the competitors you want. You are still technically not supposed to reveal any proprietary knowledge from your previous company, but you can't be prevented from moving to a competitor.
ssj12 24th July 2012, 22:44 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by schmidtbag
if enough of these people leave, whoever is left over that didn't leave within the past couple years is probably person behind everyone wanting to leave, and who knows maybe that person is the one holding back the entire company and possibly the reason why AMD processors aren't as popular.

err.. this guy is what got AMD GPUs into the Xbox 360 and Wii. Its a lose of talent losing someone who has known influence in the console market.

Go Nvidia!
schmidtbag 24th July 2012, 23:39 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by ssj12
Quote:
Originally Posted by schmidtbag
if enough of these people leave, whoever is left over that didn't leave within the past couple years is probably person behind everyone wanting to leave, and who knows maybe that person is the one holding back the entire company and possibly the reason why AMD processors aren't as popular.

err.. this guy is what got AMD GPUs into the Xbox 360 and Wii. Its a lose of talent losing someone who has known influence in the console market.

Go Nvidia!

Ok? That doesn't change my point. Besides, this guy did his part - I'm not sure if the new xbox is still going to use AMD but since WiiU will and rumor has it, PS4 will, then why does AMD still need him?
Hanoken 25th July 2012, 04:10 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by schmidtbag
Quote:
Originally Posted by ssj12
Quote:
Originally Posted by schmidtbag
if enough of these people leave, whoever is left over that didn't leave within the past couple years is probably person behind everyone wanting to leave, and who knows maybe that person is the one holding back the entire company and possibly the reason why AMD processors aren't as popular.

err.. this guy is what got AMD GPUs into the Xbox 360 and Wii. Its a lose of talent losing someone who has known influence in the console market.

Go Nvidia!

Ok? That doesn't change my point. Besides, this guy did his part - I'm not sure if the new xbox is still going to use AMD but since WiiU will and rumor has it, PS4 will, then why does AMD still need him?

Well it possibly means that the next gen after the new wiiU, ps4 and the new xbox, they will have to duke it out with the situations reversed, when Feldstein was with amd, amd had a better advantage into getting their products into the consoles, now a new guy at amd will have to negotiate with uncertainties without him, and nvidia will have a higher success rate with Feldstein in their assets. This is my thoughts though so...
fluxtatic 25th July 2012, 05:39 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by schmidtbag


Ok? That doesn't change my point. Besides, this guy did his part - I'm not sure if the new xbox is still going to use AMD but since WiiU will and rumor has it, PS4 will, then why does AMD still need him?

I worked all day today and accomplished several things, including a project that had been on hold for nearly a month. Should I expect to find my desk cleared tomorrow?
schmidtbag 25th July 2012, 05:43 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by fluxtatic
I worked all day today and accomplished several things, including a project that had been on hold for nearly a month. Should I expect to find my desk cleared tomorrow?

Did you potentially change your company's history? Did you complete a contribution that almost one one else in your company can accomplish?

Or in a different perspective:

Do you continue to drive your car after you got over 200K miles on it and it can no longer shift into 2nd gear?
Adnoctum 25th July 2012, 06:08 Quote
He is MARKETING.
He didn't head the console development teams, he wasn't a technical person, he was an executive salesman. He just sold AMD technology and expertise to the console makers, who looked at the technical merits and said yes/no. Obviously they liked what they saw because rumour has it all three camps will be going AMD next time.
AMD isn't going to be devastated. Get a grip, people.

All Nvidia has bought is the his personal skills and the contacts/relationships he has made. They will still have to make a compelling technical/economic case to gain sales, which they haven't done.
This smacks of Nvidia buying they way into sales through fresh faces after burning bridges with both Microsoft and Sony, rather than making a better product. Make a better product and the damn thing will sell itself.
Adnoctum 25th July 2012, 06:22 Quote
I would also like to point out that even if he did decide to spill AMD secrets (moronic career killer of a decision), what exactly would he spill?
The decision on the upcoming consoles has been made, although not released publicly. Nvidia will already know if they have won/lost. This isn't like graphics cards, where Nvidia will get an advantage if they knew about AMDs next-gen architecture. The console AMD GPUs will no doubt be based on already released tech that Nvidia can go and buy now.
The consoles after that haven't even entered planning stage, so there wouldn't even be any details to spill.

As I said, this is all about his personal skills and the contacts he has made.
Gareth Halfacree 25th July 2012, 08:56 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Adnoctum
Make a better product and the damn thing will sell itself.
If only that were true. Look at Betamax: objectively a 'better product' than VHS, but VHS still won. The sales go to the people who can sell the best, not the people with the best product. History is littered with the corpses of companies that had stunning products but who got beaten by those who knew which palms to grease and how to advertise.
Snips 25th July 2012, 10:08 Quote
So explain to me again, how does this make Nvidia a "bad bad sad awful" company?

The guy clearly wanted to go elsewhere, just like a lot of high ranking executives have in recent times. Do they know something we don't?

He was clearly a valuable asset to AMD otherwise you wouldn't have such interest in him leaving.

Nvidia clearly think he is worth it otherwise they wouldn't have hired him.

The bad guy here is clearly AMD for letting their top talent leave.
Adnoctum 25th July 2012, 11:12 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gareth Halfacree
Quote:
Originally Posted by Adnoctum
Make a better product and the damn thing will sell itself.
If only that were true. Look at Betamax: objectively a 'better product' than VHS, but VHS still won. The sales go to the people who can sell the best, not the people with the best product. History is littered with the corpses of companies that had stunning products but who got beaten by those who knew which palms to grease and how to advertise.

Normally I would agree with you, but I totally disagree with you in this instance.

Firstly, there is a limited number of customers, in this instance three (unless another maker enters the ring).
Microsoft and Sony (and Nintendo) are not going to behave like common consumers when making a choice.

Secondly, there are similarly a limited number of providers. I would argue there are realistically two (AMD and Nvidia), but there is scope for other players to come in from the side, Intel being the obvious one but there are others working in the mobile space.

Thirdly, you mistakenly assumed I meant "better" in terms of superior quality when I meant "better" in terms of more fit for purpose. The GPU choice isn't going to go to who has the most powerful core. It would be a complicated metric that would measure cost, performance, thermals, development, manufacturing, packaging, licensing, among many others.

Lastly, you need to look at the incestuous history of the prominent four, but more importantly Nvidia's history with "partners". Nvidia tends to f**k 'em over. Microsoft got hosed on the GPU costs for the Xbox, and fixed that with their deal with ATI for the X360 (Sony is reportedly getting slightly less hosed on the PS3). The MS/Nvidia relationship was seriously poisonous, but now a nice former AMD salesman can thaw relations? Maybe? I don't think so.

There are more and more credible rumours that AMD will be in both the X??? and the PS4. And yet AMD doesn't have a "superior" GPU to Nvidia. I think that points to AMD having a better package to offer the consoles and probably a better relationship with the console makers. Hence (ta da!) Bob Feldstein being headhunted by Nvidia. So...they couldn't fix their interpersonal problems from within?
Gareth Halfacree 25th July 2012, 11:23 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Adnoctum
Normally I would agree with you, but I totally disagree with you in this instance.
I wasn't speaking specifically of this instance, just generally and historically.
jakobfrimmel 25th July 2012, 12:00 Quote
HEHE Friday the 13th :p
Griffter 25th July 2012, 17:05 Quote
i like nvidia. always had an nvidia card. never once let me down... can someone tell me , in a non-fanboy way, why they so bad and maybe why ati is better?

at the moment my gtx690 is/was who knows now i guess the fastest card. and pc guys like us just want the fastest... well i do when i get the cash that is.
ssj12 25th July 2012, 18:12 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hanoken
Quote:
Originally Posted by schmidtbag
Ok? That doesn't change my point. Besides, this guy did his part - I'm not sure if the new xbox is still going to use AMD but since WiiU will and rumor has it, PS4 will, then why does AMD still need him?

Well it possibly means that the next gen after the new wiiU, ps4 and the new xbox, they will have to duke it out with the situations reversed, when Feldstein was with amd, amd had a better advantage into getting their products into the consoles, now a new guy at amd will have to negotiate with uncertainties without him, and nvidia will have a higher success rate with Feldstein in their assets. This is my thoughts though so...

I dont see Sony using AMD for their main console as they had a great relationship with Nvidia for the PS3.
[USRF]Obiwan 26th July 2012, 10:21 Quote
Like the rest of them, he is leaving a sinking ship...
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