Apple is buying P.A. Semi, a designer of low-power
microchips, in a move that could bolster its ability
to customize key parts for its iPhone, iPod and
Macintosh product lines.
The deal, first reported on the Forbes magazine Web
site, was confirmed on Wednesday by Apple, although
no furhter details were unveilled.
Forbes said the transaction was valued at $278
million in cash.
Apple already employs many semiconductor experts who
work closely with partners to customize chips to make
its products stand apart. The move could help Apple
bulk up their system design teams to enhance their
ability to work with third-party vendors.
Key Apple partners include Intel, which supplies the
processors for Mac computers, and Samsung, which
makes the iPhone processor.
P.A. Semi, which launched its first products in late
2005, has a family of chips based on the Power
architecture from IBM but that use far less
electricity than other designs.
P.A. Semi said its chips could be used in everything
from printers to video game systems to
supercomputers. It is a "fabless" chip company,
meaning it uses contract manufacturers and does not
own its own production facilities.