I am not sure what to make of this but Apple has apparently bought PA Semi for $278M. When Apple made the switch to Intel, PA Semi was supposedly in the mix, so I am not sure what it means that they have now acquired PA Semi. Apparently, it will give them differentiation in the iPhone space. While vertical integration has arguably been successful for Apple, this seems like a bridge too far although it is hard to question Apple at this point. They sure know how to change the game. Perhaps with PA Semi’s processor Apple will have to horsepower to run everything in software (baseband, application processor, video decoding) on the v.next iPhone. This is the holy grail but people have been saying this is not realistic.
For the investors, this is likely not that great of an exit as a I believe a lot of money went into PA Semi and the price leads me to believe that this was somewhat of a bargain for Apple (considering what investors were looking for). You have to believe Intel is the odd man out in this. I wonder if Apple was unhappy about something Intel was doing (or not doing)? TI is an investor in PA Semi but it could spell trouble for them as well if the iPhone market share grows and PA Semi manages to change the game in mobile phone silicon while the iPhone market share grows. Apple always has have had a cozy relationship with their semiconductor partners including IBM with the PowerPC so from that perspective it is not unprecedented. I am guessing that PA Semi chips will not be in the 3G iPhone but perhaps the generation afterwards.