Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Apple buys a CPU company

Wow, I didn't see this coming: Apple disses Intel's Atom, buys PowerPC designer P.A. Semi. Very interesting. I had been vaguely aware of P.A. Semi, but didn't know where they'd find big demand for their advanced PowerPC CPU. And Apple has become more of a system designer than a chip designer. So I wouldn't have guessed that they'd buy a Semiconductor IP company. Some have twittered, "why not AMD?" For that matter, why not Transmeta, if they're looking for a very low power mobile CPU?

Congratulations, P.A. Semi! It will be fun to see how this plays out.

Forbes article

Update: color analysis from Chris Edwards.


Sparqi said...

Hi John,

You probably didn't know that in 2005 when I was at Cadence supporting NVIDIA I also covered PA Semi and Apple. I had FAEs working at PA Semi up through their first early-2007 tapeout.

My take is that this acquisition really wasn't about Apple getting the PA Semi processor; I feel strongly that this was about Apple getting their people.

There may be a play for Apple in leveraging the PA Semi processor technology to create more power-efficient portable devices. But I predict that Apple will remain with the x86 architecture for the personal computing lines.



Anonymous said...

I think that this ( is good speculation on why it is happening.

Let me just say, it aint all that holy as "acquiring the good engineers". More like "squeezing the boys at them big chip companies"

Laptop Repair said...

Even I am not familiar with PA Semi but Apple might have made this decision considering all the facts. But are Apple laptop parts getting any cheaper? Are they?

Sparqi said...

@Laptop: So although you have no idea what we're talking about you feel compelled to question whether Apple made the right decision?