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AMD Gaming Executive Departs Chip Maker for Rival Nvidia

(This article was originally published Monday.) By Shara Tibken The executive overseeing Advanced Micro Devices Inc.'s (AMD) relationship with videogame-console makers has left the company to join rival Nvidia Corp. (NVDA), taking with him years of experience in the competitive field. Bob Feldstein, who joined AMD when the company acquired graphics-chip maker ATI in 2006, has taken on the role of vice president of technology licensing at Nvidia. He most recently served as AMD's corporate vice president of business development and also led the company's Boston Design Center, which focuses on design engineering for AMD's various chips. Mr. Feldstein's departure is the latest loss for AMD, which has replaced much of its top management in recent months. The company named Rory Read, former president at PC maker Lenovo Group Ltd. (LNVGY, 0992.HK), as its CEO about a year ago, tasking him with helping lead a turnaround at the struggling chip maker. Since that time, Mr. Read has been building out AMD's leadership with executives such Lisa Su, who previously worked at Freescale Semiconductor Ltd. (FSL) and International Business Machines Corp. (IBM), and Mark Papermaster, who served as an executive at companies such as Cisco Systems Inc. (CSCO) and Apple Inc. (AAPL). Mr. Feldstein has been considered instrumental in helping AMD expand into new markets and cultivating AMD's relationship with game console makers such as Microsoft Corp. (MSFT). AMD has been successful in winning designs away from Nvidia, including the next-generation Sony Corp. (SNE) PlayStation, according to people familiar with the matter. The people have said the new PlayStation will use both microprocessors and graphics technology made by AMD, though they have cautioned plans could change. For the current-generation PlayStation, Sony relies on a technology called the Cell chip, which was developed jointly with IBM and Toshiba Corp. (TOSYY, 6502.TO). The move would also end a long-running partnership with Nvidia for graphics chips. Nvidia spokesman Bob Sherbin said in a statement that Mr. Feldstein is "an experienced technology licensing person" that Nvidia hired "to help us think through current and possible future technology licensing projects." He declined to comment further or specify Mr. Feldstein's possible role in gaming. Mr. Feldstein, reached via email, said he started at Nvidia on July 16. AMD said his last day at the company was July 13 and that Mr. Feldstein left the company on "amicable terms." "During his time with AMD, Bob built a model that positioned our graphics [intellectual property] and [chip] capabilities in new market segments," AMD spokesman Andrew Fox said, adding it was Mr. Feldstein's decision to leave the company. Arun Iyengar will now oversee the game console business along with his other duties, Mr. Fox said, and will work to expand AMD's chips into broader markets. Mr. Iyengar last month was named corporate vice president and general manager of AMD's newly-created embedded business unit. Meanwhile, the Boston Design Center is now being led by Jim Farrell, an AMD senior design fellow. Mr. Farrell is an AMD veteran who is also responsible for setting the technical direction for AMD's silicon technology, the company said. Write to Shara Tibken at Subscribe to WSJ:

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