When the first Xbox console was unveiled on stage back in 2001, it was announced that it was packing an Intel CPU. This had been a last – minute decision on Microsoft’s part; so at the last minute in fact, it was according to “The Father of the Xbox” Seamus Blackley AMD engineers sitting on the front row of the console’s debut.
Blackley, who is always good to interesting stories around the console’s development and launch, another shared earlier today. In a series of tweets, he tells the story of the console’s launch window in 2001:
(Note: Lisa Su is the current president and CEO of AMD, but was not with the company at the time of the Xbox launch. “Andy” was Andrew Grove, CEO of Intel at the time, while “Bill” is Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates).
As we approach @Xbox 20th, I again feel a need to apologize for the literal last second, @AMD-engineers-who-helped-us-make-the-prototype-boxes-sit-in-the-front-row – for advertising switch to an Intel CPU. It was Andy who called Bill. Not me. @LisaSu. I beg for mercy.
I was standing there on the stage for the announcement with BillG, and there they were right there, in front, and looked so sad. I will never forget it. They had helped so much with the prototypes. Prototypes that literally ran launch announcement demos on AMD HARDWARE.
I felt such an ass.
Cold blood! It’s about as last minute a swap as this could be, and must have sucked at the AMD people involved. I personally do not care what components came into the box, or what company ultimately profited from it, but from a personal point of view, I feel so sorry for these engineers.
Imagine getting all that work done, getting the invitation to the Xbox event, sitting right there and watching the launch games show up on your hardware and then … funny, another company is going to swing in and actually make all the money.
Anyway, if you’re looking for some sort of corporate redemptive arc for this story, both the PS5 and Xbox Series X are powered by AMD CPUs.
(You can see Gates announcing an Intel CPU at around the 2:29 mark below)