Advanced Micro Devices was founded on May 1, 1969, by a group of former executives from Fairchild Semiconductor, including Jerry Sanders III, Ed Turney, John Carey, Sven Simonsen, Jack Gifford and three members from Gifford's team, Frank Botte, Jim Giles, and Larry Stenger. The company began as a producer of logic chips, then entered the RAM chip business in 1975. That same year, it introduced a reverse-engineered clone of the Intel 8080 microprocessor. During this period, AMD also designed and produced a series of bit-slice processor elements (Am2900, Am29116, Am293xx) which were used in various minicomputer designs.
During this time, AMD attempted to embrace the perceived shift towards RISC with their own AMD 29K processor, and also attempted to diversify into graphics and audio devices as well as EPROM memory. It had some success in the mid-1980s with the AMD7910 and AMD7911 "World Chip" FSK modem, one of the first multistandard devices that covered both Bell and CCITT tones at up to 1200 baud half duplex or 300/300 full duplex. The AMD 29K survived as an embedded processor and AMD spinoff Spansion continues to make flash memory. AMD decided to switch gears and concentrate solely on Intel-compatible microprocessors and flash memory, placing them in direct competition with Intel for x86-compatible processors and their flash memory secondary markets.
AMD announced the acquisition of ATI Technologies on July 24, 2006. AMD paid $4.3 billion in cash and 58 million shares of its stock, for a total of US$5.4 billion. The transaction completed on October 25, 2006. Since 2010, all of the company's graphics processing products have been marketed under the AMD brand name.
It was reported in December 2006 that AMD, along with its main rival in the graphics industry Nvidia, received subpoenas from the Justice Department regarding possible antitrust violations in the graphics card industry, including the act of fixing prices.
In October 2008, AMD announced plans to spin off manufacturing operations in the form of a multibillion-dollar joint venture with Advanced Technology Investment Co., an investment company formed by the government of Abu Dhabi. The new venture is called GlobalFoundries Inc.. This partnership will allow AMD to focus solely on chip design. The spin off was accompanied by the loss of approximately 1000 jobs, or about 10% of AMD's global workforce.
In August 2011, AMD announced that former Lenovo executive Rory Read would be joining the company as CEO, following Dirk Meyer.
To secure cost savings and support workforce revisions focused on the development of low-power computing hardware, AMD announced in November 2011 plans to lay off more than 10% (1400) of its employees from across all divisions worldwide. This action was to have completed by Q1 2012 with most exits before Christmas 2011. AMD announced in October 2012 plans to release an additional 15% of its workforce with an unspecified effective date to reduce costs in the face of declining sales revenue.
AMD acquired the low-power server manufacturer SeaMicro in early 2012 as part of a strategy to regain lost market share in the server chip market.