Personally I feel that ATI / AMD have this certain level of respect for NVIDIA and what they're able to achieve. Until September there was no reason for us to think that the GT 300 series from NVIDIA wouldn't be here; the green team had come out many times saying that everything was moving to plan. In the mean time ATI was moving to plan with the HD 5000 series and it looked like both models would launch around a similar time.
So why does this matter? Well, because I personally think that while ATI was confident in the model they were producing, they also felt confident that NVIDIA wouldn't be holding back either. For this reason the company decided not to create as many of the HD 5000 series models because they didn't want to get lumped with them at a high price. This is fair enough and in the business world a smart decision; it all went pear shaped, though, and quickly. Read more at TweakTown.