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Apple's PA Semi buyout motivated by assets, not products - Page 3

post #81 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by onlooker View Post

MacWorld Came to the same conclusion I did, only MW does it days later.

Quote:
MW sez: "Instead, it bought the engineering expertise and low-power savvy of that company’s 150-person team in order to better work with suppliers such as Intel."

To me, this just shows that MacWorld has no clue. Apple buys the talent and processes to create all new architectures. Why in the world would they want to hand over their innovations/breakthroughs to Intel after all is said and done. Apple wants to dominate in another area of their business and beat Intel at it's own game. That's pure Steveness. Apple moves from partner to partner like a vampire and in time, and when it no longer makes sense to deal with Intel, their bloodless husk will be cast off also.

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post #82 of 106
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Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

To me, this just shows that MacWorld has no clue. Apple buys the talent and processes to create all new architectures. Why in the world would they want to hand over their innovations/breakthroughs to Intel after all is said and done. Apple wants to dominate in another area of their business and beat Intel at it's own game. That's pure Steveness. Apple moves from partner to partner like a vampire and in time, and when it no longer makes sense to deal with Intel, their bloodless husk will be cast off also.

HIstorically speaking apple does this all the time. It started even before the acquisition of Raycer graphics. I think your being unreasonable, and irresponsible in stating things like that when there is a pattern of behavior from Apple that does exactly what this writer claims. You have nothing to back up your paranoia.
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post #83 of 106
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Originally Posted by TenoBell View Post

Exactly what part of that statement is assumption that cannot be backed up with information from the sources?

Teno, it's too general. When they bought that gpu design firm a few years ago, Jobs said about the same thing, but nothing happened.

What I think happened there was that Apple used their expertise to design better SOFTWARE that worked with gpu's, as we've seen with their core technologies. Having in-house knowledge of how these chips work at their most basic level allows much better software.

I have some feeling that Apple may be doing some of the same here, as well as possibly wanting to do a bit of specialized x86 research.

These guys are smart. but I don't see Apple licensing ARM to start with it all over again.
post #84 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

To me, this just shows that MacWorld has no clue. Apple buys the talent and processes to create all new architectures. Why in the world would they want to hand over their innovations/breakthroughs to Intel after all is said and done. Apple wants to dominate in another area of their business and beat Intel at it's own game. That's pure Steveness. Apple moves from partner to partner like a vampire and in time, and when it no longer makes sense to deal with Intel, their bloodless husk will be cast off also.

There is just NO WAY that Apple is going to want to compete with Intel.

No way, and to no purpose.

Apple can't compete with the sales economies that Intel can deliver. That was the problem they had with IBM.

Are they going to want to go through that all over again, except, this time, taking the monetary risk upon themselves?

No!

Apple does not take on that kind of risk these days. They don't need to either.
post #85 of 106
I read something today that said Amiga was going to use this chip. This got me thinking that maybe Microsoft was exploring making it's own computers and was looking to buy PA semi??
post #86 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

There is just NO WAY that Apple is going to want to compete with Intel.

No way, and to no purpose.

Apple can't compete with the sales economies that Intel can deliver. That was the problem they had with IBM.

Are they going to want to go through that all over again, except, this time, taking the monetary risk upon themselves?

No!

Apple does not take on that kind of risk these days. They don't need to either.

I don't quite agree. Competing against intel for Desktop/Server CPU and Chipsets is a foo's paradise but Intel is not quite the stalwart in every area. They have their hands full trying to supplant ARM at the low end power efficient arena of mobile computing. Intel hasn't had success everywhere (remember their "success" with LCoS? They bailed)

As much as I like Apple's partnership with Intel they aren't the incumbent everywhere. I think Apple will happily maintain a healthy mix with Intel enjoying the proverbial %80 of the processor mix.

I'd like to see what Apple can do with PA Semi IP. It's really about Apple having the ability to deliver products based on a chipset that is tailored to their needs. I have no idea what that is yet but it's easy to see how Apple can leveredge Multi-touch in many ways beyond the iPhone/iTouch.

I'm not even so sure Apple has issues with PPC. They're working on infusing LLVM more into their development tools which target different processors with optimizations.
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post #87 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

I don't see that anymore. Once it made sense. In fact, with the PPC alliance, it did make sense.

But with Apple on x86 for its Macs and ATv, it makes more sense to move to x86 all 'round. Why should Apple support, real time, two chip architectures? ... I can't find a reason for this. The word is out that they don't want the products, so what else is left? Expertise? That's what the word is. But for what?

You are too narrow-focused in your analysis.

- P.A. Semi has expertise in building low power circuit blocks for ASICs, SoCs, and CPUs.
- Apple has many products that use custom ASICs, SoCs, and CPUs.

The PPC involvement, it seems, is extra. I personally think the PPC is a better chip that the x86 for use in everything other than a PC (term used loosely), but my personal opinion is probably not what drove Apple's decision to acquire PA Semi. That, it seems, was motivated by the two points above.

I'd also like to objectively point out that the cost of producing custom silicon is not very high anymore. I really and truly don't understand your objections to Apple improving its in-house design capabilities via PA Semi -- as said, Apple already produces a handful of custom chips. Most companies in the mobile phone and embedded device spaces have fairly expansive in-house chip design capabilities.
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post #88 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by sc_markt View Post

I read something today that said Amiga was going to use this chip. This got me thinking that maybe Microsoft was exploring making it's own computers and was looking to buy PA semi??

MS does not support PPC chips. Once upon a time, when NT first came out, it supported the PPC. But that was quickly withdrawn as MS decided to just back x86. At the time, the early '90's, it was thought that the superior PPC was going to supplant the x86, but once MD dropped that support, before it even got off the ground, that ended it.

I doubt MS has any PPC code left that would be usable, even in the very unlikely scenario they were interested.
post #89 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post

I don't quite agree. Competing against intel for Desktop/Server CPU and Chipsets is a foo's paradise but Intel is not quite the stalwart in every area. They have their hands full trying to supplant ARM at the low end power efficient arena of mobile computing. Intel hasn't had success everywhere (remember their "success" with LCoS? They bailed)

As much as I like Apple's partnership with Intel they aren't the incumbent everywhere. I think Apple will happily maintain a healthy mix with Intel enjoying the proverbial %80 of the processor mix.

I'd like to see what Apple can do with PA Semi IP. It's really about Apple having the ability to deliver products based on a chipset that is tailored to their needs. I have no idea what that is yet but it's easy to see how Apple can leveredge Multi-touch in many ways beyond the iPhone/iTouch.

I'm not even so sure Apple has issues with PPC. They're working on infusing LLVM more into their development tools which target different processors with optimizations.

LCoS failed with Sony as well. Intel was just smarter about getting off earlier. Wasn't Intel's fault.

One thing I believe, when Jobs said that they were "through" with PPC, he meant it.

I just don't see Apple taking the huge expense, and risk, associated with doing a processor chip. The costs are almost impossible when you have no history. And PA's history isn't enough. Despite the ARM knowledge that is there for a couple of people, it's fairly old knowledge now. They would have to get up to speed, and the rest of the staff would have to learn even more.

And for what? I just don't see it.

Apple could easily sink another $500 million into doing a new ARM version just for themselves, with no guarantee it would be better than whatever Intel will have two years from now when Apple's chip would come on line.

I just don't see it.
post #90 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by Splinemodel View Post

You are too narrow-focused in your analysis.

- P.A. Semi has expertise in building low power circuit blocks for ASICs, SoCs, and CPUs.
- Apple has many products that use custom ASICs, SoCs, and CPUs.

The PPC involvement, it seems, is extra. I personally think the PPC is a better chip that the x86 for use in everything other than a PC (term used loosely), but my personal opinion is probably not what drove Apple's decision to acquire PA Semi. That, it seems, was motivated by the two points above.

I'd also like to objectively point out that the cost of producing custom silicon is not very high anymore. I really and truly don't understand your objections to Apple improving its in-house design capabilities via PA Semi -- as said, Apple already produces a handful of custom chips. Most companies in the mobile phone and embedded device spaces have fairly expansive in-house chip design capabilities.

I'm not denying that the peripheral chips they could need are possible here. But, to spend what will end up being over $300 million by the time this is done, must involve more than that, and I don't see it as being a new ARM, or esp. a new PPC.

I agree with the Macworld article. That's the way I see it. I said it before the article came out, so I'm not parroting it.
post #91 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

I'm not denying that the peripheral chips they could need are possible here. But, to spend what will end up being over $300 million by the time this is done, must involve more than that, and I don't see it as being a new ARM, or esp. a new PPC..

Low power IP is good. PA Semi basically has 150 people who have been working on the technology for several years now. $300M is very much a reasonable price for that. Not only does Apple get good IP, but by buying PA they encourage these kinds of startups. It's always easier to be a pessimist, but in this case I think you're pessimism isn't justified: Apple has plenty of money for making these kind of investments. This is a good thing for everyone, and even if it's a bust it's not a big deal for Apple.
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post #92 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by Splinemodel View Post

Low power IP is good. PA Semi basically has 150 people who have been working on the technology for several years now. $300M is very much a reasonable price for that. Not only does Apple get good IP, but by buying PA they encourage these kinds of startups. It's always easier to be a pessimist, but in this case I think you're pessimism isn't justified: Apple has plenty of money for making these kind of investments. This is a good thing for everyone, and even if it's a bust it's not a big deal for Apple.

Where is the pessimism? That implies that the deal was a bad choice for Apple. Melgross and others have merely made pragmatic assumptions of the future use of P.A.Semi based on their current product line and Apple's current need, which are not transparently congruent at this time.
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post #93 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by onlooker View Post

HIstorically speaking apple does this all the time. It started even before the acquisition of Raycer graphics. I think your being unreasonable, and irresponsible in stating things like that when there is a pattern of behavior from Apple that does exactly what this writer claims. You have nothing to back up your paranoia.

As Andy Grove is oft quoted, "Only the paranoid survive".

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post #94 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by Splinemodel View Post

Low power IP is good. PA Semi basically has 150 people who have been working on the technology for several years now. $300M is very much a reasonable price for that. Not only does Apple get good IP, but by buying PA they encourage these kinds of startups. It's always easier to be a pessimist, but in this case I think you're pessimism isn't justified: Apple has plenty of money for making these kind of investments. This is a good thing for everyone, and even if it's a bust it's not a big deal for Apple.

I'm not a pessimist. I'm just saying that I don't agree with what some are saying here as to Apple's interest. I'm not denying that Apple has a purpose for this, and it may be a good one. But I think their purpose is different from what is often being said it is, here.
post #95 of 106
Quote:
Teno, it's too general. When they bought that gpu design firm a few years ago, Jobs said about the same thing, but nothing happened.

There isn't much Apple can do with in house GPU technology to improve its products or their sales. This is an entirely different story for embedded CPU's.

Quote:
I have some feeling that Apple may be doing some of the same here, as well as possibly wanting to do a bit of specialized x86 research.

If Apple had bought a company that specialized in designing embedded x86 chips. Then I would agree Apple will likely move all of its products to x86.

Apple bought a company that has no history with x86. I think it unlikely they will switch their embedded products to x86 anytime soon.
post #96 of 106
Quote:
I'm not a pessimist. I'm just saying that I don't agree with what some are saying here as to Apple's interest. I'm not denying that Apple has a purpose for this, and it may be a good one. But I think their purpose is different from what is often being said it is, here.

The head of Apple's iPod division pushed for the acquisition and we have a quote from Steve Jobs saying Apple bought PA Semi because of its processor designs to be used for iPods and iPhones. I see no reason to believe that is not the immediate reason for the purchase.

But of course PA Semi will provide chip designs for other products.
post #97 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by TenoBell View Post

There isn't much Apple can do with in house GPU technology to improve its products or their sales. This is an entirely different story for embedded CPU's.

That's not true. At the time, Apple could have made a difference.


Quote:
If Apple had bought a company that specialized in designing embedded x86 chips. Then I would agree Apple will likely move all of its products to x86.

Apple bought a company that has no history with x86. I think it unlikely they will switch their embedded products to x86 anytime soon.

[/quote]

We really don't know what knowledge is there for x86. People are saying, without knowing, that PA and Apple have been working on an ARM chip for three years, or a PPC chip. It goes back and forth depending on the hour.

It's just as likely they have gotten expertise in x86 during that time.

Only time will tell, and it's kind of pointless to continue this, as I'm sure you'll agree, as neither of us know anything about it.
post #98 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by TenoBell View Post

The head of Apple's iPod division pushed for the acquisition and we have a quote from Steve Jobs saying Apple bought PA Semi because of its processor designs to be used for iPods and iPhones. I see no reason to believe that is not the immediate reason for the purchase.

But of course PA Semi will provide chip designs for other products.

We know they won't be providing any of their chips for the iPod, because they consume ten times as much power, and they will be discontinued, as PA has already announced.

Apple won't be designing any new ARM's in the short term, because this company doesn't do any work with ARM's, only their own PPC designs.
post #99 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

We know they won't be providing any of their chips for the iPod, because they consume ten times as much power, and they will be discontinued, as PA has already announced.

Apple won't be designing any new ARM's in the short term, because this company doesn't do any work with ARM's, only their own PPC designs.

Give us your best shot as to why this acquisition makes the most sense to Apple at this time.

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post #100 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

LCoS failed with Sony as well. Intel was just smarter about getting off earlier. Wasn't Intel's fault.

One thing I believe, when Jobs said that they were "through" with PPC, he meant it.

I just don't see Apple taking the huge expense, and risk, associated with doing a processor chip. The costs are almost impossible when you have no history. And PA's history isn't enough. Despite the ARM knowledge that is there for a couple of people, it's fairly old knowledge now. They would have to get up to speed, and the rest of the staff would have to learn even more.

And for what? I just don't see it.

Apple could easily sink another $500 million into doing a new ARM version just for themselves, with no guarantee it would be better than whatever Intel will have two years from now when Apple's chip would come on line.

I just don't see it.

I remember reading a lot of similar responses to the idea that Apple was going to switch to Intel.

I don't see Apple going back to PPC either but I can't find any other reason that explains this purchase.
post #101 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

We know they won't be providing any of their chips for the iPod, because they consume ten times as much power, and they will be discontinued, as PA has already announced.

Apple won't be designing any new ARM's in the short term, because this company doesn't do any work with ARM's, only their own PPC designs.

I'll make this clear: They aren't using the Intel Atom platform.

Being in contact with folks who know the fabs know they aren't using the Atom platform.
post #102 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

Give us your best shot as to why this acquisition makes the most sense to Apple at this time.

I've already done that, but, sure, I'll do it again, and expand upon it.

I have to go back a bit in history to that gpu design firm I've mentioned that Apple bought several years ago.

There was much speculation in the industry, as well as here, that Apple would finally take the lagging gpu Mac development into their own hands, but it never happened.

What did happen is that Apple developed the core technologies instead. My thought on that was that Apple wanted the low level knowledge that these people had about gpu hardware and software. Remember that what Apple had done was never done before, and was, and is, significant. So much so, that MS is copying the entire concept.

I feel that some of that is in this deal as well. Apple wants their expertise remember, not their products. Will Apple really take the risk of the responsibility of an entire chip development platform? I think not. That would involve them developing their own compilers, etc, as well as hardware.

This is VERY expensive these days. Then Apple would have to out-fab this.

Look at the problems AMD is having. What would happen if Apple has problems with a processor line that they will need for their products? That's a tremendous risk. I don't see Apple taking it. With all the experience these people have, doing an ARM would be something they have never done. It doesn't matter that years ago, he was one of the main developers of the ARM, he hasn't done work with it for quite a while, and a lot of water has flowed under that bridge.

Since we have no idea what Apple has been doing with them the past three years, despite all the speculation running around, if anything, things we know nothing about could have been brewing.

Does anyone doubt that Apple has been running the iPhone/itouch development on both the ARM AND the x86 hardware? I don't. I think thats very likely. More than likely.

How soon could Apple have a new Apple-made ARM up and running? A year? Two years?

Do you think that somehow, this small firm has been secretly working on ARMs for a while, to please Apple? Maybe, but it's doubtful. This is a small company, and their PPC product has kept them busy.

I do agree that possibly they could help Apple with some specialized chips. But would that be a good enough reason to buy the entire firm? After all, Apple could contract out with any design firm to help design, and build custom chips that would belong to Apple.

So, one other reason could be to build some custom functions into Intel's chips. We don't know what experience people there have had with x86. It could be just as much as with PPC and ARM. Possibly more than with ARM.

Intel might be open to Apple doing this, if it would get them to use Intel, and move off ARM. After all, the speculation is that Apple may sell tens of millions of phones a year eventually, plus iTouches, and who knows what else. Intel would sure like to get that business!

And while some criticize the Atom as being too power hungry compared to the ARM, well, possibly now that's a problem, but not in a year. Intel has the best fabs, they are ahead of everyone in this area. AMD and IBM have announced their metal gate processes for later this year, or next year, but Intel has been using it for months already. They will be on 32 nm a year ahead of everyone else, and the smaller contract fabs, like Chartered, will take even longer to move to that.

I think that PA will possibly help in that area, as well as others, and Apple can leave it up to Intel to do the heavy lifting.

At least, that's how I see it.
post #103 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by sc_markt View Post

I remember reading a lot of similar responses to the idea that Apple was going to switch to Intel.

I don't see Apple going back to PPC either but I can't find any other reason that explains this purchase.

Since we know that PA will discontinue the PPC's they are building, Apple won't be using them.
post #104 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post

I'll make this clear: They aren't using the Intel Atom platform.

Being in contact with folks who know the fabs know they aren't using the Atom platform.

No one is using the Atom platform yet, what's your point?
post #105 of 106
Quote:
How soon could Apple have a new Apple-made ARM up and running? A year? Two years?
Do you think that somehow, this small firm has been secretly working on ARMs for a while, to please Apple? Maybe, but it's doubtful. This is a small company, and their PPC product has kept them busy.
I do agree that possibly they could help Apple with some specialized chips. But would that be a good enough reason to buy the entire firm? After all, Apple could contract out with any design firm to help design, and build custom chips that would belong to Apple.

Years ago PA Semi attempted to court an iPod contract showing Apple some low power embedded ARM designs. Apple liked what they saw and challenged PA Semi to design a highly energy efficient but much more powerful ARM design. What PA Semi designed impressed Apple so much they wanted to buy the IP and keep it for themselves.

This is a much more linear narrative than Apple buying PA Semi to design x86 processors

A year or two to make a processor assumes Apple and PA Semi have not already been working on it. When it was revelaed Apple bought Fingerworks, multitouch was already made. Which means Apple and Fingerworks had already been long been working together. When it was revealed that Apple bought Silicon Color, Apple Color was released a couple of months later which means Silicon Color and Apple had long been working together.

As for the expense. PA Semi is a much smaller company and used Texas Instruments as its fab and didn't seem to have insurmountable expense or problems. I'm sure their are many ways to structure a deal with a fab that can lower the cost. Such as starting with a generic ARM design and only adding some proprietary components to it. I doubt PA Semi was able to provide a contract for nearly 100 million units to a fab, the way Apple would for the iPod and iPhone.

Mel I think you just want to believe against all evidence to the contrary that Apple will use x86 in the iPod line. I guess you will hold on to this hope until Jobs appears live on stage and says "we are not using x86 in our iPod line".
post #106 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by TenoBell View Post

Years ago PA Semi attempted to court an iPod contract showing Apple some low power embedded ARM designs. Apple liked what they saw and challenged PA Semi to design a highly energy efficient but much more powerful ARM design. What PA Semi designed impressed Apple so much they wanted to buy the IP and keep it for themselves.

This is a much more linear narrative than Apple buying PA Semi to design x86 processors

A year or two to make a processor assumes Apple and PA Semi have not already been working on it. When it was revelaed Apple bought Fingerworks, multitouch was already made. Which means Apple and Fingerworks had already been long been working together. When it was revealed that Apple bought Silicon Color, Apple Color was released a couple of months later which means Silicon Color and Apple had long been working together.

As for the expense. PA Semi is a much smaller company and used Texas Instruments as its fab and didn't seem to have insurmountable expense or problems. I'm sure their are many ways to structure a deal with a fab that can lower the cost. Such as starting with a generic ARM design and only adding some proprietary components to it. I doubt PA Semi was able to provide a contract for nearly 100 million units to a fab, the way Apple would for the iPod and iPhone.

Mel I think you just want to believe against all evidence to the contrary that Apple will use x86 in the iPod line. I guess you will hold on to this hope until Jobs appears live on stage and says "we are not using x86 in our iPod line".

PA never made an ARM chip. What they did was to present Apple with an outline for a new ARM chip. It wasn't a complete design. That's very expensive to do. Apple looked at that outline, said very nice, patted them on the back, and promptly went somewhere else for their chips. So much for PA' ARM designs.

The entire thrust of the company, announced even before the company was formed, was to produce better PPC chips, which they did.

There is NO evidence for what you and a few others are saying.

There is NO evidence that PA has done any work for Apple pertaining to current, or future products.

Fingerworks was formed to produce the very products they had in the works when Apple bought them. Totally different situation.

This one is much closer to the one I brought up.

Apple certainly won't give an order for anywhere near 100 million units. Possibly 25 million. You don't order numbers for several years of production at once. You take options on future production, and if you don't need the numbers, you pay a penalty.

You remind me of before Apple went to the x86. It was heresy to think of that. even afterwards, people were up in arms, and cursing it.

I don't see Apple ever again doing something with this much uncertainty. And I can't even see the point to it.

If Jobs says that they will be designing their own ARM chips, I'll agree that I was wrong. But, so far, I see no reason for him to do that.
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