Well, it’s not ARM Holdings, but Apple did snap up a chip-maker called Intrinsity in order to boost its mobile processors.
The deal was chump change to Apple, $121 million or so, and it could help the company maintain a lead on the hardware side because the small, Austin-based company was known for optimizing the horsepower of mobile processors. According to The New York Times:
The speed of mobile device chips are typically measured in megahertz, and one of the more popular chips on the market usually runs at about 650 megahertz. Intrinsity’s engineers found a way to crank that speed up to 1000 megahertz, which happens to be the same speed as the A4 in the iPad.
Intrinsity has been working with a division of Samsung that manufactures chips on this speedy product. The same division of Samsung built the A4 chip for Apple, according to Chipworks, a firm that reverse-engineers and analyzes technology products.
By acquiring Intrinsity, Apple would be able to keep that 350 megahertz edge to itself.
The ARM buyout never really made sense because it would have cost nearly $8 billion and Apple’s style has generally been to buy smaller, talented companies and grow them within Apple’s womb. This is what happened when it purchased P.A. Semi for less than $300 million in 2008 and it put that company to work with the A4 chip that’s in the iPad. This seems like a solid move for Apple to get more of its hardware in-house.
When you’re blowing out quarters like Apple is, you have the freedom to make acquisitions like this. I commend them for having the restraint to not just make a big, splashy move because it can. Another big baller, Google, is also in the midst of an acquisition storm, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see a counter move coming to light in the near future.
[Via The New York Times]