No question that ATI has a bunch of talented engineers but traditionally these chaps have managed to skip most of the target schedules. Just in the last 12 months they delayed the R520, then delayed R580, RV516, RV530, RV560 for a whole quarter and now even the saviour, the R600 is behind schedule.
Going from 110 to 90 and now to 80 nanometres is hard and ATI learned its lesson - unfortunately the hardest way possible. That’s what made Nvidia decide to make G80 a fat 90 nanometre chip as opposed to a slim-line 80 nanometre. The optical shrink wasn't straightforward enough.
AMD will ensure that ATI won't be skipping its schedules any more and, if it does, there will be some major consequences. When AMD says it will make the transition to 65 nanometres, it simply does it in the same quarter as promised. Big mistakes are not allowed as it is up against super-wealthy Intel. When ATI says it will do something, it has been able to skip weeks, months or even quarters.