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Apple purchases PA Semi for $278M

Intel has high hopes for its Atom processor platform. Intel believes that the processors will allow it to tap into nearly $40B in new markets around the globe.

The current Z5xx family of Silverthorne-based Atom processors is indeed impressive given their small 13mm x 14mm package size. The processors range in speed from 800MHz to 1.86GHz and feature a thermal design power (TDP) ranging from 0.65 W to 2.4 W.

Intel has actively courted Apple with its new line of Atom processors -- and its future variants -- for use in a number of Apple products, namely the iPhone. While Intel's Atom looks impressive on paper, it appears that the performance-per-watt is still not quite to Apple's liking, hence the Cupertino-based company's decision to purchase fabless chip company PA Semi.

Apple yesterday confirmed that it purchased microprocessor design company PA Semi -- a person familiar with the deal said the transaction was worth $278M. "Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not comment on our purposes and plans," said Apple spokesman Steve Dowling to Forbes.

PA Semi was founded in 2003 by Dan Dobberpuhl who was the lead designer for DEC's Alpha and StrongARM processors. PA Semi is now best-known for its PWRficient 64-bit multi-core processors which are based on Power Architecture.

Apple's move to have greater control over major components included in its mobile products could help the company stay out ahead of the competition with regards to innovation. However, new Apple products using PA Semi's processors could still be more than a year away so we still have a while to see how Apple will take advantage of its recent purchase.





"Young lady, in this house we obey the laws of thermodynamics!" -- Homer Simpson



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