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Interview with ATI's soon-to-be CEO Dave Orton 138

Posted by michael
from the purty-pictures dept.
wolfgang writes "Tom's Hardware has published an interview with Dave Orton, who will become ATI's next CEO in June. Orton talks about the transformation of the company within the last three years, the current competition with Nvidia and what can be expected from graphic chipsets in the near future. Orton believes that ATI can grab more than 50 percent market share in the desktop market in the short term."
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Interview with ATI's soon-to-be CEO Dave Orton

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  • by ObviousGuy (578567) <ObviousGuy@hotmail.com> on Friday May 07, 2004 @01:13PM (#9086231) Homepage Journal
    Powering those little cable boxes and HDD recorders is where the money lies in the near to mid-term.

    The desktop is for all intents and purposes a locked up market. Get a deal with Intel to fry your chip onto the mobos and you're home free.

    But the embedded world is still the Wild West of technology.
    • by TrueBuckeye (675537) on Friday May 07, 2004 @01:22PM (#9086382) Journal
      I would disagree that the desktop is locked up. Over the past 7 years I have bought 5 video cards, only 2 of them from the same company. 2 of the makers no longer exist at least in the market (Sierra and Voodoo) and I have gone back and forth over the past few years between Nvidia and ATI depending on who has the better product at the time.

      And as mentioned in the article, the desktop market is now decided in large part by who controls the high end segment, which is a constant battle between the two (although ATI has had the advantage for the past 12-18 months).

      It is far from decided yet. Remember Voodoo went from market leader to bankrupt in about a year and a half.
      • By Voodoo, do you mean 3Dfx?

        I really don't understand why people use the "top dog" as a means for deciding which mid range or low end part to buy. One company being top dog in the high end doesn't mean that their mid range and low end parts are the best parts to buy in the respective segments.
        • by TrueBuckeye (675537) on Friday May 07, 2004 @03:43PM (#9088150) Journal
          Yeah, sorry...3dfx. Need more coffee.

          I attribute the top-dog buying to the hardware geeks (I include myself in this category somewhat).

          What I have seen, unsupported by anything but anecdotal evidence, is that a geek goes out and gets a top-notch video card, say the ATI 9800XT a month or so ago. For every geek who knows hardware in and out, there are probably 5 normal people who rely on geeks to suggest hardware to them. Whether it is due to brand loyalty or a desire to support hardware that they are familiar with, many geeks will then recommend if not the same card they have, then often the same brand. So the geek who has a 9800XT will often recommend a 9600 or some other ATI product.

          By pleasing the geeks with good hardware, support, and drivers, the manufacturer can sell many more products due to this effect. AMD saw the same thing when they released unlocked, powerful, and cheap cpu's 4 or 5 years ago while Intel was locking theirs down tighter and tighter. The geeks started supporting AMD more and more, so non-geeks began to buy non-Intel cpu's.
  • Well... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Bishop, Martin (695163) on Friday May 07, 2004 @01:13PM (#9086240)
    What they really need to do is release better Linux drivers, and care more about Linux support in general.
    • Re:Well... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Kenja (541830) on Friday May 07, 2004 @01:15PM (#9086255)
      "What they really need to do is release better Linux drivers, and care more about Linux support in general."

      Why? What's the benefit to them? Not a troll, just playing devils advocate.

      • Goodwill (Score:4, Insightful)

        by wawannem (591061) on Friday May 07, 2004 @01:20PM (#9086339) Homepage
        Goodwill with the tech crowd will go a long way. There are some companies that play nice with our crowd and prosper from it... Apple for one has tried to deliver what we want and now they are doing better than they did 4 years ago.

        Although, I think we're both just feeding the troll.
        • Agreed. I've long since decided I will never buy another ATI product, even if people say there's Linux support. I spent weeks (on and off) following peoples instructions trying to get my 3d working properly on a radeon 7000. To this day, it has never worked right.
      • A lot of goodwill/good PR from the slashdot and techie crowd (if they produced true open source drivers). This may count for more later on than now - imagine if Linux is big on desktops in say 2010, being able to claim that they were big with open source driver support "from the 'early' days in 2004" may be quite handy, whereas I don't quite see how support like this could have a negative effect (apart from the cost of supplying it).
        • Cost is pretty much the negative effect that drives anything in business. If the cost of providing open source drivers now outweighs any potential future earnings, then it won't happen.
      • Exactly. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Saeed al-Sahaf (665390) on Friday May 07, 2004 @01:22PM (#9086366) Homepage
        Why? What's the benefit to them?Yes, exactly. What I think will drive ATI to release better Linux drivers is seeing more *commercial* applications that run on Linux and require the cards that ATI makes. There is no point to ATI to invest lots of time / money in developing drivers for a non-existent market. Translation: Games, we need to see more *commercially* released GAMES for Linux.
        • Re:Exactly. (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Zooks! (56613)
          Close but Linux is really poised to take off in embedded devices and if ATI is in those devices you can be sure they wil have a reason to make good drivers.

          Besides, I don't think games are going to come to the Linux market yet because Linux doesn't have enough of the desktop market.
          • but what is the cross over, if that is the correct term, of linux users and game players. "Desktop" is irrelevant in this discussion. How much of the population is in both categories? out of 100% of the gamers, are 50% linux users? 20%? If you are nice to the linux users and market, you might lock in a portion of the gamers to your hardware.
          • It's not just because of the currently small marketshare. Linux has no future in gaming unless some fundamental things change. Allow me to prove it.

            Fact 1: Games are expensive.
            Conclusion 1: People who buy games are serious gamers or have money to burn.

            Fact 2: Windows is a better gaming environment.
            Conclusion 2: Serious gamers use Windows.

            Fact 3: Windows is expensive and familiar to everyone, Linux is free and strange to most people.
            Conclusion 3: People with money to burn use Windows.

            Therefore, peop
        • Re:Exactly. (Score:3, Interesting)

          by incom (570967)
          Even if that were to happen tommorow, most of the linux users would buy nvidia cards, creating an uphill battle for ATI to gain marketshare. No, I think that ATI is counting on linux not being a gaming market, cause they'd lose out if it became one. If they cared about even a potential, or future linxu market they'd be playing nice right now, it wouldn't even cost much to improve thier linux drivers.
        • Yeah, cause I would love to spend money developing a game for a platform that doesn't even have 3d hardware support. ATI could do really well just by taking the chance and RELEASING DOCUMENTATION, not writing a driver. That way they would get better quality drivers made for them, for free, and for all free unix systems, not just particular linux kernel versions. And the downside is what again? Oh, right, they have to stop accepting the typical wall street "protect my IP" mentality and realize there's no
        • Re:Exactly. (Score:3, Informative)

          by ImpTech (549794)
          Everybody says "More games, need more games!" How many do you want??? We've got UT2004. We'll be getting Doom3. Return to Castle Wolfenstein? Enemy Territory? Ok, we won't get Half-Life 2, but who knows if even the Windows guys will get that one. Don't like FPS? We've still got NWN, probably some others I can't think of right now. Okay, we don't get *every* game, but we're getting a respectable selection these days, particularly of the graphically-intensive variety. At this point, ATI should want o
      • Re:Well... (Score:4, Interesting)

        by kidlinux (2550) <duke@spacebo x . n et> on Friday May 07, 2004 @01:24PM (#9086401) Homepage
        How about more sales, and a greater share of the market?

        It seems ATI has only recently begun to release Linux drivers (no they're not open source, but there's no reason everything has to be.) Whereas NVidia has been supporting Linux for much longer. Recently my ATI card toasted, and I can't get it covered under warantee so I'm looking for a fairly decent but inexpensive card - and this time I want it well supported under Linux. NVidia seems like the only choice for me, since only ATI's most recent line of products (ie: expensive products) are supported.

        Anyhow, the Linux marketshare is obviously expanding, and if ATI wants a piece of it, they'll have to do as the parent suggested - support it. It would be nice, because I prefer ATI products for their design, innovation, and the fact that they're Canadian.
        • Re:Well... (Score:5, Interesting)

          by lspd (566786) on Friday May 07, 2004 @01:53PM (#9086786) Homepage Journal
          NVidia seems like the only choice for me, since only ATI's most recent line of products (ie: expensive products) are supported.

          DRI [sourceforge.net] covers virtually all of the ATI chips up to the 9200.
          FGLRX [ati.com] covers everything from the Radeon 8500 to 9800.

          The only remaining problem is that some commercial developers just assume Nvidia is the standard. DRI in particular has come a long way. I've been using a Radeon 8500 with Michael Daenzer's DRI packages for Debian [debian.org] with few problems. Out of 30 commercial Linux games I have, 3 don't work properly: Descent 3, Savage and Heavy Gear 2. Savage's problem is trivial to fix, the others I'm not sure about.

          I'd rather see ATI release the 3D specs on the R300 chips than see further improvements in the FGLRX driver.
          • Re:Well... (Score:3, Informative)

            by Lehk228 (705449)
            FGLRX has one flaw that I have found, it always picks your monitors highest possible refresh rate no matter how many times you set your config file to use one step down (at 75 hz my monitor loses the signal periodically, at 72 it works perfectly, guess which refresh rate FGLRX uses)
          • I dont care if i get modded down.

            I have an old box 300mhz with an ATI Allin wonder pro 8megs, with a TV tuner, asside from using this a spare box for my newsgroups (pr0n) i watch tv on it.. i DESPERATLY want to put linux on it.. can i get ATI Media Player or a media player to work for my TV Tuner with linux?

            windows 2000 runs fine on it, but i WANT no no no.. i NEED linux on this machine.
            • Check out the GATOS [sourceforge.net] project. They might have code that will let your card work.

              You could use that card for sure as a video card, and both 2D and 3D will work (using DRI). If you can't get it working as a TV card, you could always get an inexpensive TV capture card, such as an ATI TV Wonder.

              steveha
          • Re:Well... (Score:3, Interesting)

            by jejones (115979)
            Is there any way I can get both 3D acceleration and support for the TV tuner on my AIW Radeon? My Gentoo box is limping along with ati-gatos and an xfree build (xfree-4.3.0-r6) that makes Mozilla and other browsers crash at the drop of a hat.

            OTOH, wait, maybe I don't want the 3D... when I used those drivers for ATI cards, I'd randomly wake up in the morning to find my or my wife's computer crashed hard in the midst of running one of the spiffy acceleratophilic screensavers.

            Can anyone out there recommend a
            • OTOH, wait, maybe I don't want the 3D... when I used those drivers for ATI cards, I'd randomly wake up in the morning to find my or my wife's computer crashed hard in the midst of running one of the spiffy acceleratophilic screensavers.

              Can anyone out there recommend a graphics card with decent performance and Open Source drivers?


              To be honest, I had tried DRI many times in the past with similar problems. They usually came down to a rogue libGL.so getting into the mix somewhere, and ultimately the solut
            • Re:Well... (Score:3, Interesting)

              by TarpaKungs (466496)

              OTOH, wait, maybe I don't want the 3D... when I used those drivers for ATI cards, I'd randomly wake up in the morning to find my or my wife's computer crashed hard in the midst of running one of the spiffy acceleratophilic screensavers.

              I'm running an NVidia GeForce FX 5700 under linux 2.4.25 with the NVidia drivers (build 1.0-5336) and I have exactly the same problem. I'm not sure whether you meant that "those drivers" were ATI's binary ones, but I am finding NVidia's drivers unstable as of late. Also,

          • Re:Well... (Score:2, Interesting)

            by ShecoDu (447850)
            Do you happend to know what's the status for the IGP adapters? (I have an IGP345, chipset R250 if I recall correctly)

            So far I can get 2D acceleration, but not 3D, I've found some links ( ATI IGP 320 [online.fr], Linux on a Compaq Presario 900US [wsu.edu] to name a few) but DRI is disabled (I use debian sid, and the dri-trunk-sid [debian.org] packages by the way)

            I can't get a working radeon framebuffer, all i get is a garbled screen mode and I can't seem to fix it (I've even installed a kernel patch [directfb.org])

            All I'd want is a working 3D acceleratio
            • Hmm. I don't have an IGP, but my understanding is that it should work properly with the dri-trunk-sid packages even though there have been some recent fixes. You did build the drm-trunk-module package and install it right?

              You might also try here [planetmirror.com] or here. [xfree86.org]
          • The FGLRX proprietary drivers do me absolutely no good on my non-x86 linux boxes. In other words the binary-only proprietary drivers may as well be no drivers at all to me. NVIDIA is even worse in this regard. For example my powerbook can't do any suspend or screen dimming because NVIDIA won't even release the specs on how to reset the chipset. It's a lose-lose situation. And unfortunately it's not going to get any better. Like another poster said, my next workstation (not a gaming platform) will be a
        • Re:Well... (Score:3, Insightful)

          by JDevers (83155)
          Only the most recent? Ati supports everything from the 8500 up (two generations back, maybe more depending on how you count them). More importantly though is everything OLDER than the 8500 is supported by true open source drivers by the community.

          An 8500 would actually be a decent card to look at, it is DX 8 class but is reasonably fast and should be VERY cheap to obtain...
      • Re:Well... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Daemonik (171801) on Friday May 07, 2004 @01:25PM (#9086422) Homepage
        For one, the consumer electronics market is wide open.

        Most CE products are made in Japan, Korea and China, all countries with a healthy distrust of Microsoft.

        They just agreed to jointly develop Linux for their markets.
      • Well, lack of good linux drives stops me from buying ATI cards for the Windows systems the rest of my family use.

        If they had linux support, the cards in those systems might be ATI, but they are not.
      • Well, they could get their hi-end cards in to the likes of Weta Digital. When they created SXF for Lord of The Rings, they used Linux on their desktops. Having such demanding and hi-profile customers can only be a good thing. From the PR-value, to the feedback they can use to improve their products.

        While Linux is not often used for gaming and such, it's quite often used for content-creation (in this case, 3D-graphics). Not having working drivers available, Ati has no access to that growing market.
      • I owned a Mach64, R8500, and a R9600. When I switched full-bore to Linux I sold or traded them (ok, the Mach64 just retired) for their nVidia counterparts and intend to stay with nVidia until ATI's drivers improve. Which is unfortuntate as I generally feel the ATIs are better hardware.

        Admittedly, I'm just one guy but enough 'just one guys' can make a difference.
      • "Why? What's the benefit to them?"

        A good reputation amongst developers.

        (y'know, those people who write linux software in the evening, in charge of deciding which $4000 graphics card to buy 10 of at work during the daytime, and with a load of money to spend on games for their home computer)
      • Why? What's the benefit to them? Not a troll, just playing devils advocate.

        The whole 3dfx industry is rapidly standardizing on Linux. This industry buy those "holy crap that's expensive" video cards which have such great margins for ATI.

        Also, as the linux desktop gains more traction elsewhere ATI would be wise to have all their Linux ducks in a row. nVidia is just waiting to eat their lunch in that market. The level of linux support nVidia provides makes ATI look like a sick joke.
      • by Bun (34387)
        2 words: Settop Boxes.

        To paraphrase a previous poster, nobody except Microsoft wants DirectX and WinCE on settop boxes. If they make a decent Linux driver, perhaps the Sony's and Toshibas of this world will be more interested in using their chipsets in their next Tivo-alike.
    • Re:Well... (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Yes, because linux is the only operating system out there that matters, and it has such a gigantic share of their target markets. What in heavens name are they thinking?
    • Re:Well... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Adriax (746043)
      Give it time, as more games come out with linux ports, they'll have to pay more attention to linux drivers if they want to compete with nvidia.
    • Personally, I don't want them writing Lixux drivers. You've seen what they've done with the Windows's ones. I bet they could even make a BSD box BSOD with their drivers.
    • Re:Well... (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Or, they could just let Linux folks write em themselves and save money.

    • What they really need to do is release better Linux drivers, and care more about Linux support in general.

      Oh my, no.

      It's got nothing to do with Linux.

      All of their drivers are crap. Rather than make the ATI MultiMedia Center and hardware drivers *not* blue-screen Windows 2000 constantly, they spent a whole lot of time and effort on making it look stupid (like it was designed by a 17-year-old virgin with anime posters on his walls).

      Support for discontinued products is also poor. Come on, when it's obsol

    • Yep... There's no "Linux" word in that interview... Does that new CEO even know what Linux is? I'll continue to stay FAR AWAY from ATI. I'll stick with NVidia!
    • Re:Well... (Score:2, Interesting)

      by aquabat (724032)
      I already spent a mod point on this article, but I can't leave this one alone. So here goes...

      What annoys me most about both ATi and NVidia is not poor quality in their linux XFree drivers, and it's not a lack of resources dedicated to solving Joe Average's problems getting hardware acceleration working on his new Linspire box from WalMart.

      What really annoys me about these guys and other hardware manufacturers is that they are willing to sell me a piece of programmable hardware, but they are unwilling

  • by Neil Blender (555885) <neilblender@gmail.com> on Friday May 07, 2004 @01:15PM (#9086252)
    He should start now on that graphics card that longhorn will need.
  • I used to be a die hard nVidia fan until ATI started to keep nVidia on there toes around Radeon 8500...this type of compitition if the best thing for the consumer...I mean im sure if ATI kept releasing infirior pruducts we would not have soo many monster grapics cards right now...good stuff...keep up the good work ATI.
    • Why can't other businesses compete like this?
      When these guys compete, they make their products better, when other companies compete, they cut corners.
      • Because it is rare to see a company as highly motivated to be the best like these too...they want the market share and the bragging right's and they wont stop...AMD did it too with the Opteron...so CPU's are gonna get interesting too I think...So AMD has the bragging right's right now lets see intel top them...
      • by N8F8 (4562)
        Because they don't have to. And don't think for a minute that the graphics card business isn't rife with IP lawsuits.
  • NVidia (Score:5, Funny)

    by gilgongo (57446) on Friday May 07, 2004 @01:17PM (#9086279) Homepage Journal
    As somebody who has just upgraded their RivaTNT 64 drivers to the latest version (all of about 5 mins before seeing this /. post) I don't think flattening NVidia is going to be much trouble...

    • Hell, yeah!
      I just downloaded the newest Catalyst drivers for my Radeon 7000. That baby plays Quake II like a knife going through warm butter now!
      • My old pentium 75mhz with a 4mb ATI Xpert@Play played quake2 just fine....whats your point? In other news...I just upgraded my Geforce FX 5600 drivers and Commander Keen runs great!
  • That's what Nvidia has been banking on... the short term... they're the leader for like 2 weeks... what the hell is the point of looking at the short term? 50% market share short term means nothing... unless you define the length of the term... what is that, months/quarters/years?
    • For those 2 weeks, Nvidia is established as "the fast card" among the early adopters and hardcore gamers who buy a new graphics card every 6 months. This is an important market segment as they buy far more graphics cards than everyone else. They'll also get people who haven't upgraded in a while and think their current card is too slow so they're already looking for a new card but didn't think the previous generation was worth buying. ATI doesn't have enough of a lead over Nvidia to convince people to wait
      • Except for the fact that Nvidia's card haven't hit the market yet. X800 pro's are already shipping and the x800XT is soon to follow.
      • early adopters and hardcore gamers who buy a new graphics card every 6 months. This is an important market segment as they buy far more graphics cards than everyone else

        That segment might be the most profitable in terms of margins, but they are a relatively tiny part of the market. The low/mid range cards are where the volume is.

        It's not perfect (primarily because of their games low hardware requirements), but Valves survey of hardware in use [steampowered.com] illustrates this.

        ATI doesn't have enough of a lead over N
  • I agree (Score:5, Interesting)

    by kneecarrot (646291) on Friday May 07, 2004 @01:17PM (#9086296)
    ATI does look well poised to capture the majority of the desktop graphics card business. They have had excellent competitors since the 9700 and their newest generation gives superior performance to nVidia cards with less cooling and power requirements.
    • Re:I agree (Score:1, Offtopic)

      by dtio (134278)
      > I always save my last mod point to mod up a good troll. You people are too serious.

      This is the first time I post a reply to a sig but I do exactly the same.

      I usually save a mod point to mod up a very funny and well thought controversial post, even if the guy is clearly trolling.

      News for nerds, stuff that matters... with a bit of humour :-)
  • Right. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by AugstWest (79042) on Friday May 07, 2004 @01:18PM (#9086310)
    Orton believes that ATI can grab more than 50 percent market share in the desktop market in the short term.

    That's exactly the kind of BS that CEOs are paid to spew. Does he honestly believe they'll capture more than 50% of the market, or is that the line he's feeding to the board of directors to get the CEO position, which he'll lose when the board gets sick of the BS?

    One video card company cannot gain more than 50% of today's market. It's just not possible.
    • Re:Right. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by musikit (716987)
      umm i'm no expect here but don't the Gamecubes use a ATI chip? aren't the Xbox2s gonna be using a ATI chip? no clue what chip the PS2 uses but i could have swarn all 3 systems are designing for ATI chips on the next gen consoles....

      given the fact that console gaming is much larger then PC gaming and the fact that the consoles are getting to basically be full blow PCs with special SW wouldn't ATI hold a much larger then 50% marketshare?
      • Maybe, but if you're including the chips being put into consoles, you have to include the chips being built into low-end motherboards. ATI doesn't exactly have a large share in integrated video.
        • Maybe, but if you're including the chips being put into consoles, you have to include the chips being built into low-end motherboards. ATI doesn't exactly have a large share in integrated video.

          Except for the fact that ATi already has a substantial lead in integrated mobile solutions over their closest competitor, Nvidia. Not to mention ATi has had a liscencing agreement with intel for some time to produce motherboards with integrated graphics solutions (see: RS300 with 9100IGP).
      • ATI also holds a comfortable position supplying Rage128 chips to motherboard manufacturers for servers, who have no desire at all to move to more expensive, higher-performance CPUs for boxes that are usually used from the console for no more than a few minutes a week.
      • What part of "desktop market" don't you understand?

        An X-Box 2 is not a desktop computer.
    • Well DUH! If I was the soon-to-be CEO, I too would be spewing forth this BS as well. By setting the stage with optimism, you increase your chances of gaining investment...and justifing your job. As CEO, it's about generating a self fulfilling prophecy in the eyes of your share holders.

      • "Well, I think we'll do a little better in the short-term because of deals we've already signed. After that, it's a little hazy and depends on memory prices and stuff like that. At least it's better than all that insider stock-trading we had, right?"

        Yeah, that should increase investor confidence and get him that raise next year... :^)

    • Re:Right. (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I would have to agree especially since you have many motherboard / chipset manufacturers that integrate their own video chipsets (VIA, Intel, nVidia) to alleviate user's from buying that additional video card that they probably don't need. There are more people using computers for standard business purposes than there are for gaming / graphics design. Most users don't need a high-end gaming / graphics card to browse the web and use standard business applications. ATI may be able to capture 50% or more of
    • Re:Right. (Score:2, Informative)

      by mobby_6kl (668092)
      Yeah I was also surprised. Last time I checked, Intel had the largest market share at about 33%, then nVidia had 27% and ATI 24%. (VIA and SIS had both about 7-8%). I seriously can't see a way how they could get 50% there.
      • He probably meant 50% of dedicated video cards, not including integrated video on Intel motherboards.
    • Why not? Nvidia had a virtual monopoly between the time 3dfx folded and the time the Radeon came out; back when the TNT2 and Geforce 1 were the undisputed performance champions by a large margin. More recently, Nvidia pissed off a lot of people with the Geforce 4 MX and the underwhelming FX series. The X800 and the 6800 are virtually neck and neck as far as performance goes, but the X800 seems to have much better ancillary features (power and cooling reqs, image quality). That could easily give 20% of the m
      • The X800 and the 6800 are virtually neck and neck as far as performance goes, but the X800 seems to have much better ancillary features (power and cooling reqs, image quality)

        The only way anyone can claim the X800 has better image quality is if you've got AA and AF turned off on both cards and are playing a game that doesn't support PS3.0. Even then it's probably too close to call.
        With AA and AF, the Geforce clearly clearly has superior IQ.

        The power and cooling reqs aren't that different either. The 68
    • Well it is not imposible. They do have something like 40% now, so they just need to increase 10% point. Diffucult but not imposible. He is talking about graphics card sale, not integrated graphics where he admit they are currently weak.

      But I still think that they should have asked about their (lack of)driver quality.

      Martin
    • Here is the actual quote: "We would like to reach 50 percent of the market in the short term." Since there are only really two main players for graphics cards, and they have been gaing share on NV, the goal of 50% doesn't seem unrealistic. Especially when you consider that so far ATI seems to be leading again on the high end.
    • Re:Right. (Score:2, Informative)

      by DarkMageDTM (318634) *
      Sorry, but when 95% of the market is two companies, it's pretty easy for 1 to get 50% or more...no one else has the money to compete. Matrox tried...and failed.

      It costs so much time and money to design modern GPUs that we aren't going to have a new major player for a long time. More is sunk into their R&D than Intel and AMD at this point.
      • AND, to further driver the point home....

        In pretty much every mature market there is:

        Number 1, who generally dominates the market;
        Number 2, who is no slouch, but still number 2;
        and, finally
        Everybody else, who are nowhere near 1 or 2.

        Ask any major business consultant. The goal of your business is to be #1. Otherwise you're not serious.

    • One video card company cannot gain more than 50% of today's market. It's just not possible.

      Why not? Technology companies routinely evolve into dominant market share players. Intel has an 83% share of all CPUs. Microsoft has a 99% share of operating systems.

      There are only 2 players in the video card market now - others have died trying to fight the big 2. If one can sustain a competitive advantage over the other for a few years, one will end up being dominant (ie - have more money than the other guy t
  • Market Share? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by lrt512 (695689)
    To capture market share, they need to figure out how to write drivers that don't crash 50% of the systems they're installed on. I've flirted with ATI on and off since 1989, and have *never* had a stable system with one of their cards installed.
    • Drivers are getting better for ATI, but if they can get their Drivers to the level of quality that Nvidia provides, then we got ourselves a real wild west showdown.

    • My experience differs from yours

      I bought a Radeon 9700 Pro and put it into a P4 2.6GHz system running Win Xp Pro. The drivers that came out of the box (i.e. their initial release) were flaky, but once I downloaded an upgraded version, they have been rock solid! Not one single problem. That was over a year ago.

  • "Orton believes that ATI can grab more than 50 percent market share in the desktop market in the short term."

    I beleive they can.

  • ATi (Score:2, Offtopic)

    by Lust (14189)
    It's a small point, but it's a small "i" (ATi).
    • Why? Seriously, I hope it's not because of their logo. If we had to type everything just like it's in the logo, how would we for example type Intel? Anyway, check out their about page here [ati.com]. There is at least a dozen of "ATI" and not a single "ATi".
      • by JeffTL (667728)
        I think ATi has a historical precedent: "Array Technologies, inc." Though usually acronyms are rendered in capitals, and the pronunciation is "A-T-I" and not "A-Ti" or "A-Titanium." Really a mixed bag.
    • ya know. I'm just sayin.
  • another very recent interview with Dave Orton, quite interesting IMHO: http://www.beyond3d.com/interviews/daveorton/ [beyond3d.com]
  • their video capture cards use DRM. It doesn't matter how good they are. We shouldn't support it in any way until that stuff comes out and we get a fully capable card. Say it with me. Don't tolerate DRM.
  • by guidryp (702488) on Friday May 07, 2004 @02:41PM (#9087390)
    I generally shift like the wind when buying tech. The best bang for the buck in current reviews is what I look for. About 3 years ago I bought a Retail ATI 8500. Decent card but, in hindsight, my system crashed quite a bit more than it should have. People were point finger at my Antec 350W PS. Finally I started getting consistent crashes in a game I wanted to play (NWN). This lead me to an exhaustive diagnostic process that eventually proved my card was at fault. AT this point my Card was 2.5 years old. I sent it back to ATI. They replaced it with a 9700 Pro free of charge. Now that is what I call customer service. The kind of move that wins customer loyalty. That ATI warranty is worth a premium to me. I fully realize you are not often likely to get that kind of free upgrade, but a nice long warranty with fast replacement is much appreciated. I realize a lot of people here are complaining about past grief with ATI product, but they have made dramatic strides in the last 2 years. Now releasing drivers monthly. Performance, Image quality and reliability are all top notch. They lag in Open GL a bit, and moreso on Linux though. So I can see lots of folks here passing them by. One last point is I like buying my card from the company that also made the chip.
  • by fire-eyes (522894) on Friday May 07, 2004 @03:51PM (#9088213) Homepage
    ATI isn't going to touch Nvidia in the linux/free/bsd/etc market, the way things currently are.

    I had a radeon 9000, and i had more issues with it than any other card i've ever used. Most games couldn't be played, lots of system hangs etc. All with their offical drivers.

    Got tired of that, grabbed an nvidia 5900FX ultra, using nvidias drivers, and haven't had a single issue in two months.

    It's pretty clear who the serious company is as far as linux/fbsd/etc.

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