Apple about to acquire AMD?

“In 2010, it was reported that Apple was testing AMD processors in the MacBook Air,” Jason D. O’Grady writes for ZDNet. “Curiously, just one year later, Intel announced a $300 Million dollar fund to help unleash an army of clones to compete with the MacBook Air.”

“Steve [Jobs] had the foresight to see that if Apple acquired AMD it would get a treasure chest of patents which would help it defend against future lawsuits (like the recent case with S3),” O’Grady writes. “Most importantly, Apple would get AMD’s engineering team, which has historically innovated quite well despite a limited R&D budget resulting from very limited market access due to Intel’s unusual practices. (Dell alone reportedly received $6 billion from Intel between 2002 and 2007 to not buy AMD chips. Sometimes those payments exceeded Dell’s profits.)”

Read more in the full article here.

24 Comments

      1. Oh ? I had no idea. I have never heard this rumor before but was not really paying attention to Apple back when the A4 was produced.

        The ATI tech would be nice for apple, they’d have full control over a great GPU.

        The only downside is that Apple would likely kill off AMD’s selling general use x86 processors and just make custom chips for their own systems. NOt a totally bad thing, but AMD at least keeps Intel pushing forward faster than they would with no competition.

  1. This would be freaking awesome. AMD’s engineers have already proved themselves with some amazing GPU’s and CPU’s under a VERY limited budget.

    Imagine what they could do if they had access to apple’s cash pile for R&D 🙂

  2. Over the years, AMD and Intel have often run neck and neck. At various times, the lead has changed hands. So it only makes sense that Apple is testing AMD processors in their gear. (Back in the dark days of the 90s, I bought a Compaq laptop with an AMD processor; it was less expensive and more powerful than anything I could get with Intel inside.)

    But buying AMD? That will definitely cement the “Intel” in “Wintel”. or will Apple sell AMD processors to others?

    I don’t think monopoly charges against Apple will happen, but they could arise against Intel, if only because there is no longer other competitors. Or will Intel license to others, like they did in the 286 days and earlier?

    This will be interesting to watch develop.

    1. you bring up quite the interesting point here. Apple could just gain more control by buying AMD – they have shown that they are very capable when given total control over hardware (look at the A4/A5)

      And Intel would be getting ready to be chewed out by monopoly lawsuits. Considering their practices of bribing vendors, it wouldn’t be all that hard to pin a monopoly charge against Intel.

      Sounds like a win/win for apple. Especially if Intel gets broken up into 2 or 3 companies.

  3. Not this rumor again! Sounds more like wishful thinking on the part of the article author than any solid information – and here I thought MDN hated all these uncontrollable Apple rumors which drive down the price of Apple stock?

  4. Tim Cook & crew will do what is necessary (really necessary) to maintain supply chain supplies AND protect their new IP in the processor arena.

    If they see the value for existing and new products coming from AMD then we will see an offer.

    AppleTV and other new products along with existing lines are going to undergo large changes in both CPUs and accessory chips so it is safe to say that Apple has the demand.

    One of the eventual enhancements to lower costs might be called ultra-large scale integrated chips for high volume devices and that alone might have enough value to warrant their own foundry.

  5. Buying AMD doesn’t seem to be Apple’s way. If history is any guide, Apple would instead sign a multiyear contract with AMD for processors and provide (say) $500 million in pre-order payments to the company to ensure its cash needs to fulfill the terms of the contract.

  6. “Dell alone reportedly received $6 billion from Intel between 2002 and 2007 to not buy AMD chips. Sometimes those payments exceeded Dell’s profits.”

    Is it just me or does it seem this practice sounds illegal?

      1. They may have lost the case, but it wasn’t illegal. There is no provision in the constitution for such a law, thus the prosecution of intel would be the criminal act.

  7. IIRC, AMD and Intel have an old licensing contract that are non transferable once AMD is sold to a 3rd party. In other words, no more AMD x86 CPUs as we know them.

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