When AMD bought ATI for $5.4 billion in 2006, its aim was to develop all-in-one "APU" chips that do both graphics and CPU chores. That worked out well in some ways, as both the Xbox One and Playstation 4 consoles use custom versions of its 64-bit APUs. However, AMD's processors and graphics cards haven't fared well against its main rivals, Intel and NVIDIA, and sales have dropped precipitously since it bought ATI.
So why the split? Under Koduri's leadership, the company wants Radeon to flourish on its own as a "more agile, vertically-integrated graphics organization," as Su put it. New technologies like 4K and virtual reality demand the latest graphics technology, and "AMD is one of the few companies with the engineering talent and IP to make emerging immersive computing opportunities a reality," said Koduri. On the other hand, VR and immersive tech is brand new, so nobody's making any money from it yet.
It's possible that AMD is priming its Radeon division for a sale, though it's also rumored
to be getting a private equity cash injection. Either way, the company needs to turn things around quickly -- despite the console success, its market share in both discreet and graphics card sales has tumbled. If anyone can turn things around, it's Koduri, but he certainly has his work cut out for him.