Because it is important: The creator of the original Xbox, Seamus Blackley, has apologized to both AMD engineers and its current CEO for Microsoft’s last-minute decision to drop its chips in favor of Intel for its gaming console. Also known as the ‘Father of Xbox’, Blackley’s apology comes shortly before the console’s 20th anniversary.
Microsoft released the original Xbox on November 15, 2001. Although our 20th anniversary is still a month away, Seamus Blackley takes the opportunity to apologize for a situation that was beyond his control.
The console designer revealed on Twitter that the change was the result of a phone call between Microsoft’s CEO at the time, Bill Gates, and then-Intel CEO Andy Grove. The decision to switch from AMD to an Intel Pentium III processor surprised Blackley and everyone else. AMD engineers were even sitting in the front row, waiting to see the final product presentation they worked on together.
As we get closer @Xbox 20, I feel the need, once again, to apologize for the literal last second, @AMD engineers-who-helped-us-make-the-front-row-row-prototype-boxes-for-the-announcement switch to an Intel CPU. Andy was calling Bill. I do not. @LisaSu I beg you for mercy.
– Seamus Blackley (@SeamusBlackley) October 12, 2021
“I was standing on stage for the announcement, with BillG, and there they were, in the front row, looking so sad. I’ll never forget it. They had helped a lot with the prototypes. Prototypes that were literally working the launch announcement demonstrates the HARDWARE of AMD, “Blackley said, adding,” I felt like an idiot.
What was the reason behind the sudden change over which CPU was used? Someone asked him if it was due to an engineering or financial decision, to which he replied, “Relationship, I think,” before continuing with “No, I’m sure. Pure politics.”
Below is the surprise change.
Ultimately, AMD probably doesn’t hold too much grudge anymore. The company’s chips are now used for both Xbox Series X and Series S as well as PlayStation 5. They even provided an 8-core AMD x86-64 Jaguar 1.6GHz CPU for the PS4 and implemented an AMD 8-core 1.75GHz APU for the Xbox One.
Meanwhile, its rivalry with Intel is still very much alive in the processor industry. AMD’s desktop CPU market share surpassed that of Intel for the first time in 15 years earlier this year. Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger believes the lead will end with the next release of its 12th-generation processor, Alder Lake.