AMD is the second-largest global supplier of microprocessors based on the x86 architecture after Intel Corporation, and the third-largest supplier of graphics processing units. It also owns 21 percent of Spansion, a supplier of non-volatile flash memory. In 2007, AMD ranked eleventh among semiconductor manufacturers in terms of revenue.
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 they attempted to diversify into graphics and audio devices as well as EPROM memory. It had some success in the mid-80s 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. While the AMD 29K survived as an embedded processor and AMD spinoff Spansion continues to make industry leading flash memory, AMD was not as successful with its other endeavors. AMD decided to switch gears and concentrate solely on Intel-compatible microprocessors and flash memory. This put them in direct competition with Intel for x86 compatible processors and their flash memory secondary markets.
AMD announced a merger with 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 merger completed on October 25, 2006 and ATI is now part of AMD.
It has been 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 stated that it is going to spin off their 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 will allow AMD to focus solely on chip design.