A former AMD employee revealed to Forbes that AMD approached NVIDIA about an acquisition before buying ATI in 2006. Former AMD CEO Hector Ruiz wanted to get ahead of Intel by getting into the GPU market, but the deal with NVIDIA didn't go through because NVIDIA CEO Jen-Hsun Huang insisted on being CEO of the combined company.
AMD’s first target: Nvidia. But Nvidia Chief Executive Jen-Hsun Huang (see our January 7, 2008 cover story on Nvidia “Shoot to Kill“) insisted on being chief executive of the combined company, according to a former AMD employee (Nvidia declined to comment for this story).
Ruiz opted instead to acquire Nvidia rival ATI in July of 2006 for $5.4 billion. AMD’s acquisition ran into early trouble, however, as Nvidia unleashed a fussilade of strong products, gobbling up market share as AMD struggled to integrate its newly acquired graphics business.