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Why Apple Should Acquire AMD 340

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the what-else-do-you-do-with-mad-ipod-money dept.
slashdotLIKES writes "CoolTechZone.com columnist Gundeep Hora has a new column up that discusses why Apple should acquire AMD and how both companies would be a good fit for each other. From the article, "After private equity groups, let's look at a more strategic acquisition. For that, Apple is the best bet. Yes, I know it sounds way too radical to be taken seriously. However, Apple could drop Intel altogether and adopt AMD for its Macintosh PCs. Sure, the transition is going to take sometime, and it would probably make Apple announce a brand new line of PCs. However, it will be well worth it. We know Steve Jobs is ruthless when it comes to making interesting deals with powerful companies. This makes AMD a perfect match. Obviously Intel isn't going to be too delighted, but other companies don't bother Jobs. We all know he's the type of executive who crafts deals on his own terms. If Intel wants to be associated with Apple, then they won't really have much of a choice."
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Why Apple Should Acquire AMD

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  • by Maeric (636941) on Wednesday May 02, 2007 @09:25AM (#18955647)
    Usually when companies craft a deal like Apple has done with Intel there is a contract that goes along with it. Term and Conditions associated with any kind of termination to that contract. On face value I doubt this would happen given that alone.
    • by VirusEqualsVeryYes (981719) on Wednesday May 02, 2007 @09:36AM (#18955797)
      Even forgetting the contract, the proposal is ridiculous:

      However, Apple could drop Intel altogether and adopt AMD for its Macintosh PCs.

      They just switched to Intel chips less than two years ago! There are still a few apps here and there that are still dependent on Rosetta. And Apple is supposed to just pick up a new microchip like a teenager picks up a new favorite song every other week? Intel's not the only one that would be pissed (and rightly so!), but we customers, as well. I don't want to deal with another switch, and neither does anyone else. Plus, I don't think Apple wants to throw its years of work away after only two very successful years.

      Sure, the transition is going to take sometime

      No shit. In fact, they're not quite done with the transition to Intel just yet. Apple was lucky in that it had the foresight--or fortune--to maintain a secret Intel-native OS X build for years. I highly doubt they have another one for AMD. So, however long it's taken for the Intel switch, it's going to take much longer for AMD. That won't go over well with anyone involved.

      I think our time is better spent arguing whether Apple should buy out Nintendo. Or vice versa. Whichever one incites the more amusing flamewar.
      • by Maeric (636941) on Wednesday May 02, 2007 @09:40AM (#18955861)
        If they coded Rosetta properly it shouldn't really take much of a transition to go to AMD except the change in hardware. However, if they had PowerPC, intel, and AMD Apples on the market it would make it more like a PC. Something Apple doesn't want and something that other Apple users don't want. There was a lot of fuss over switching to Intel. I can just imagine it would be even worse if they switched again so soon.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by SpaceLifeForm (228190)
          Switching instruction sets is one thing.
          Switching x86 processor manufacturers would be easier.

          Of course, an AMD processor in a MAC laptop would
          probably cause the laptop to catch on fire.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Ilgaz (86384) *

          If they coded Rosetta properly it shouldn't really take much of a transition to go to AMD except the change in hardware. However, if they had PowerPC, intel, and AMD Apples on the market it would make it more like a PC. Something Apple doesn't want and something that other Apple users don't want. There was a lot of fuss over switching to Intel. I can just imagine it would be even worse if they switched again so soon.

          What else Rosetta can do? You emulate a current, perhaps more modern, totally unique RISC CPU via CISC. That CPU also happens to have a custom instruction set which can only be compared to SSE3 (velocity engine or altivec).

          I mean I don't know what Steve Jobs said but besides the bus speed/ram speed (g4) and portability problems (PPC970 never meant for portable), G4/G5 have some very impressive specs.

          Its not like we are emulating a outdated 68030 CISC chip on a newly shipped, modern RISC monster from same c

      • by networkBoy (774728) on Wednesday May 02, 2007 @09:42AM (#18955901) Homepage Journal

        Apple was lucky in that it had the foresight--or fortune--to maintain a secret Intel-native OS X build for years.
        It was forsight.
        For nearly a decade Steve and the CEO of Intel have had lunch once a year. That shows how long the deal was "in the works".
        -nB
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          That's one for why to stay Intel. I think the larger question is, why on earth would Apple do this silly idea? Ask yourself if it would have made sense for Microsoft to buy Intel. The simple answer is, if it diverts attention from your core business - it's a bad idea.
      • by cnettel (836611)
        I would be very surprised if Apple did NOT keep a good look on whatever issues that would cause problems for current MacOS X x86 on AMD hardware. This is not like the Apple switch from IBM to Intel, it's like Motorola PowerPC to IBM PowerPC. From this perspective, the x64 port in Leopard is far more significant, and even that transition is stated to be quite smooth.
      • by slughead (592713) on Wednesday May 02, 2007 @09:47AM (#18955977) Homepage Journal
        They just switched to Intel chips less than two years ago! There are still a few apps here and there that are still dependent on Rosetta. And Apple is supposed to just pick up a new microchip like a teenager picks up a new favorite song every other week? Intel's not the only one that would be pissed (and rightly so!), but we customers, as well. I don't want to deal with another switch, and neither does anyone else. Plus, I don't think Apple wants to throw its years of work away after only two very successful years.

        The switch from PPC to intel was a far greater feat than going from Intel to AMD would be. In fact, I doubt there'd be a single software issue... apart from the lack of EFI (which I'm sure Apple could wrestle away from Intel at some outrageous price).

        The problem is, AMD doesn't make anything Apple really wants. Apple needs good laptop processors, of which Intel make the best. Intel's doing better in the quad-core arena which is obviously where Apple wants to go.

        This isn't just about buying AMD, it's also about switching processor suppliers--to processors which are currently not as good as Intel. They may be cheaper, but most macs require fast and cool processors due to their form-factor, or require the fastest available processors. AMD dominates in neither category.

        I'm a huge AMD fan, my last PC (before I dumped it and my G5 to get a Mac Pro) was an AMD as were all my PCs before that. I fully admit, however, that currently Intel is winning the war.
        • by jimstapleton (999106) on Wednesday May 02, 2007 @10:21AM (#18956397) Journal
          I'd have to agree with you. Within a generation or two of an Intel CPU model being released, AMD is typically completely instruction set compatable with the Intel CPUs. Ex, the original Athlons didn't have SSE at all if I remember correctly, the later 32bit athlons had SSE and I think SSE2.

          So, instruction set wise, they'd be golden. Add to that the addition of the 3DNow instruction sets, and the fact that they could assume they were present on newer Macs, the switch shouldn't be hard for Apple. As you said, EFI would cost money though.

          That being said, as someone else put it, the performace of current generation AMD chips (and even the projected next gen performaces for AMD and Intel), does not provide a compelling case for a switch. Then again, the performance generation of Intel chips vs. PPC chips when Apple was official about the switch, did not make a compelling case either.
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by t_ban (875088)

            That being said, as someone else put it, the performace of current generation AMD chips (and even the projected next gen performaces for AMD and Intel), does not provide a compelling case for a switch. Then again, the performance generation of Intel chips vs. PPC chips when Apple was official about the switch, did not make a compelling case either.

            Performance-wise, AMD and Intel are close enough so that that won't really matter to Apple if they really switch over. That wouldn't be their reason, if they di

        • by PygmySurfer (442860) on Wednesday May 02, 2007 @10:30AM (#18956527)
          The switch from PPC to intel was a far greater feat than going from Intel to AMD would be. In fact, I doubt there'd be a single software issue... apart from the lack of EFI (which I'm sure Apple could wrestle away from Intel at some outrageous price).

          Actually, EFI is nowUEFI [uefi.org], and doesn't really belong to Intel anymore. In addition, AMD and Apple are members [uefi.org] of the United EFI Forum.

          Another reason for Apple not to buy AMD would be production issues - I believe one of the reasons Apple went with Intel was because of Intel's manufacturing capacity. If Apple buys AMD, they either don't get enough chips, or AMD CPUs become exclusive to Apple's computers - Dell, HP, and all the home builders would be SOL, because there'd be insufficient supply. And if that were to happen, there'd be zero benefit to owning AMD for Apple.

          Another problem with this scenario is that Apple essentially buys ATI as well - what then, only ATI GPUs in Macs, in addition to only AMD CPUs? Then there's all the other chips AMD makes. Does Apple just sell off these other divisions, or just shut them down completely?
        • by afidel (530433) on Wednesday May 02, 2007 @10:31AM (#18956557)
          AMD is already a member of UEFI so there would not be any need to wrestle UFI away from Intel. EFI is a fairly open standard, it has to be if there is any hope of getting rid of the legacy BIOS. Licensing for IP in the UEFI spec is licensed in a RAND fashion so anyone who wants to can implement it by simply paying standard rates.
      • by hackstraw (262471) on Wednesday May 02, 2007 @10:11AM (#18956279)
        They just switched to Intel chips less than two years ago!

        And before that they switched to the G4/5, before that PowerPC, before that 6800.

        This proposal is one of the dumbest ideas that I've heard. Apple is an integrator. Their software integrates the hardware, so they make that. The hardware is disposable. Buying AMD would severely limit Apple to innovate in the future.

        No electronics integrating company that I know of ties themselves to such a specific piece of hardware. None.

        This is absolutely silly.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by skiflyer (716312)
        While I agree that the concept of an Apple AMD merger is kinda silly, I think you fail to properly understand the differences between Intel x86 and AMD x86 chips.
      • by bhima (46039)
        "I think our time is better spent arguing whether Apple should buy out Nintendo. Or vice versa. Whichever one incites the more amusing flamewar."

        I think what you are looking for would be "Sun".
        • by jcr (53032)
          I think what you are looking for would be "Sun".

          God forbid.

          Three years ago, when Sun still had a world-class enterprise sales force, this might have been worth doing, but today the only thing Sun has that Apple needs is ZFS, which they can get for no money.

          -jcr

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by TheRaven64 (641858)
            XNU has problems scaling past two, and bigger problems scaling past four cores. Apple sells systems with eight cores. Solaris scales nicely to 64 cores, and beyond. Porting Aqua to Solaris with an XNU binary compatibility layer would be a good strategic move for Apple. SMF and Launchd have a lot in common, and I suspect a lot of people would like to be able to run the same OS on their secretary's workstation and their big iron. An Apple/Sun partnership could achieve this. The T1 coupled with WebObject
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Jeff DeMaagd (2015)
        Keep in mind that Apple bought from both Motorola and IBM at the same time for a long time. Buying from both Intel and AMD at the same time would not be so bad. I'm sure the software will work. Some people have made AMD systems work with the hackintosh software. The drivers and such might not be optimized for the chips that's in a typical AMD system, but it does work.

        Apple might be getting a generous exclusive deal to get better chip prices. For a while, AMD had some serious production constraints, and
    • by Stonent1 (594886)
      (Note I couldn't RTFA since it seems to be slashdotted) The only thing I would worry about is a non-compete clause that says they won't source their chips from other x86 chipmakers. They could do a hybrid product line until they could get acceptable power and heat numbers from AMD. This could though put some interesting things in Apple's product line. AMD has the Alchemy Au1200 processor which could become the core of an iPOD or a PDA. I think Alchemy is MIPS though, but anything's possible. Apple could
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by mabhatter654 (561290)
        I think Dell may be taking AMD up instead. Dell needs to be unique... not just shipping department for "WinTel". With their new try at Ubuntu, AMD would be a good choice for OSS solutions.. AMD don't seem to have a problem with OSS, they relied on it to sell opterons. Perhaps a big vendor like Dell would finally get some decent ATI drivers out there because it would make really cheap powerful notebooks. I'd think AMD would intend to fix that, but they need cash for work like anybody else.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by nine-times (778537)
      Also there's the fact that Apple just went through a big transition to move to Intel so they could be "just like everyone else". For a company in Apple's position, it makes much more sense to stay neutral in these things, and pick the best processor available instead of tying themselves to anyone in particular.
      • Apple didn't switch to Intel to be "just like everybody else." They switched because Intel makes great laptop chips, and neither IBM nor Freescale can. OS X is portable. Apple can switch CPU architectures whenever the technological benefits outweigh the possible hit to their marketing strategy. If, for example, BootCamp ends up being useless in several years, Apple would have the option of switching architectures again.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by TheRaven64 (641858)

          Apple didn't switch to Intel to be "just like everybody else."
          In part, they did. Apple account for around 5% of the market for Core 2 chips, while they accounted for about 90% of the market for G5s. This means that Apple has to pay 5% of the R&D costs for Core 2, rather than 90% of the R&D costs. They either pay less, or pay the same and get a much better chip. While being 'just like everyone else' doesn't help them directly, it does indirectly.
  • by dsginter (104154) on Wednesday May 02, 2007 @09:26AM (#18955663)
    However, it will be well worth it.

    Why?

    AMD and Intel exist to keep each other at bay. Consumers are the winner at the end of the day because of this relationship. Meddling with that can't be good, my gut says.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by smilindog2000 (907665)
      Not only that, but Apple doesn't consume enough chips to make it's business very interesting for AMD. IBM barely seemed to care when they lost Apple's business, and certainly they didn't care enough to bother making the low-power laptop CPUs that Apple desperately needed. Further, AMD barely survives at all through their intense focus on chasing Intel. Apple would trash that focus, and likely cause AMD to go under. Steve Jobs may be a severe a-hole, but I doubt he's dumb enough to fall for a buyout of A
      • Not only that, but Apple doesn't consume enough chips to make it's business very interesting for AMD.

        Actually, with their respective market shares a full on switch by Apple would result in something like an instant 20% jump in required production for AMD and they simply don't have enough chips to manage it without dropping the ball somewhere. AMD could scale up, of course, but not right away. That is plenty to interest AMD, but not necessarily practical.

        IBM barely seemed to care when they lost Apple's business, and certainly they didn't care enough to bother making the low-power laptop CPUs that Apple desperately needed.

        IBM was making its money selling high end server processors and in the embedded space. They figured out they could make more cash filling all the gami

    • by samkass (174571)
      Agreed. This has to be one of the most boneheaded ideas ever. Apple JUST MANAGED to dig themselves out of two decades of proprietary/alternative CPU infrastructure, and now someone wants them to dive back in the hole? It buys them nothing. They already use the fastest, best desktop and laptop CPUs on the market-- they'd be spending a lot of money to make their products worse by buying and using AMD.

      It would make a lot more sense for Apple to focus on software. Adobe Systems, for instance, has a total v
      • by twbecker (315312)
        Sun Microsystems is only valued a little above Apple's cash-on-hand, and they'd get a CPU family as well as one of the most successful programming languages ever (and Lord knows Apple needs some way forward beyond Objective-C).

        Except Sun doesn't control Java (especially now that it's GPL). Not to mention that Apple/Steve have made it clear that they have no love for the language, most notably by deprecating the Java-Cococa bridge but also by Steve's own comments.
    • by Da Fokka (94074)
      Well put. Fortunately Steve Jobs doesn't take cues from crazy bloggers...
    • by smallpaul (65919) <paul@@@prescod...net> on Wednesday May 02, 2007 @09:46AM (#18955949)

      AMD and Intel exist to keep each other at bay.

      And here I thought that they exist to make their shareholders money. Silly me.

      • by MikeBabcock (65886) <mtb-slashdot@mikebabcock.ca> on Wednesday May 02, 2007 @09:51AM (#18956049) Homepage Journal
        That's one of their duties, not a reason for existence. Not to be petty or anything, but very few companies *exist* to make shareholders money, that would require that they were first and foremost started to be publicly traded companies, which most aren't. Most companies start with some other purpose (often to make money for an owner or two as well) and then go public for more resources to work with. I know it really upsets some tried-and-true capitalists, but not everyone in the world is in business just to make a buck. Some people actually have other goals too.
      • by aztektum (170569)
        And here I thought that they exist to make their shareholders money. Silly me.

        Which, in the eyes of this articles author, is the answer to the question "Why?" The "positives" cited in articles like this are all about *business* reasons (ie., make rich people richer) why one company should merge with/buyout/eliminate as a competitor some other company.
        • Thinking about it a little more also, this particular article doesn't much real business sense behind Apple acquiring AMD. In many places it sounds like the author thinks Jobs is cool and can do anything and that it would simply piss off Intel. That makes it even more worthless than the type of articles I was talking about in my original post.
    • by catwh0re (540371)
      I agree very much with this point. Making this portion of the chain vertical isn't useful... after all microprocessors are still a field with a lot of competitive advancement.

      Apple would hate to be stuck with a latent AMD should Intel remain strong on the chip front. It would be a parallel situation to Apple being at the mercy of Motorola's very slow G4 product development. (I still think the ROKR phone was Apple's way of taking revenge on Motorola for giving them rubbish for the last few years...hehehe)

  • Another good reason could be to have a mixed design between the OS and the CPU as largely proved by SUN with its Sparc family.
    Nowadays OS designers/writers have to fight against hardware architectures (and related manufacturers).
  • here's why (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 02, 2007 @09:28AM (#18955685)
    because both companies produce more fanboys than actual products.
    • Re:here's why (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Technician (215283) on Wednesday May 02, 2007 @09:56AM (#18956101)
      because both companies produce more fanboys than actual products.

      How many fanboys are there with no PC? How many fanboys have more than one PC?

      I fail to see the same ratio of fanboys/products that you see.. ;-)
    • by neoform (551705)
      Is that really shocking?

      If either company has "1000 fans" that right there means they'd have to put out 1000 different products just to keep up.

      I'm sure both have a lot more than 1000 fans and lot less than 1000 products.

      Units on the other hand is a different story, I'd say there's little chance they have more fans than units shipped, if they did, that would be some phenomena that any company would want to emulate.
  • The second paragraph gives clear reasons why Apple should not acquire AMD. His reason for Apple to acquire AMD? Complete control over their hardware. Hardly worth it.
    • His reason for Apple to acquire AMD? Complete control over their hardware. Hardly worth it.

      Agreed. And that's exactly why it won't happen -- because even Apple has demonstrated that they don't care about complete control over their hardware. Apple has proven that with its modular and flexible OS X architecture that they can be move to any hardware architecture they want, any time. The CPU doesn't matter that much them, so they'll take the best deal they can with whomever they want. Right now for them, th

  • why bother? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TrippTDF (513419) <hilandNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Wednesday May 02, 2007 @09:29AM (#18955699)
    Steve Jobs is ruthless when it comes to making interesting deals with powerful companies.

    At this point, I'd call AMD interesting, but I don't know about powerful.

    Apple has made some interesting deals in the past, but the whole point of the Intel switch was because Intel is the clear market leader for processors, and there's nothing out there that makes me think this is going to stop any time soon. Apple doesn't need to have something else to differentiate themselves from the standard PC market like this.
  • by Tesla Tank (755530) on Wednesday May 02, 2007 @09:31AM (#18955739)
    If you look at Apple's current product (Mac, iPod, soon iPhone), the market they're selling to (brand conscious consumers), and the high margin on their products, they're totally different than where AMD is competing. AMD is selling processors to price conscious consumer, with an ultra low margin. This is especially the case now that Intel is doing some very aggressive price cutting. I just don't see why Apple would enter such a market.

    Also, if you look at Apple's key to success in recent years, it's their ability to design products that are "sexy". I don't see how they could leverage that while designing processors.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by hey! (33014)

      the market they're selling to (brand conscious consumers),

      Because making a product that people actually enjoy using couldn't be part of their success.

      It must be some brilliant marketing scheme, like, uh, making products people actually enjoy using.

      I yield to nobody in the cynicism department, and my experiences as a Mac developer years ago have left a permanent distaste for the company. But even I have to admit they've done and oustanding job on most of their recent products. Not perfect, but head and sh

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 02, 2007 @09:34AM (#18955777)
    Stupidest technology deal of all time.

    And the core competence of the combined company would be...? This would make the AOL-Time Warner deal look sensible in comparison.
  • by Schezar (249629) on Wednesday May 02, 2007 @09:35AM (#18955785) Homepage Journal
    AMD is doing terribly at the moment. They're seriously lagging behind Intel both in fabrication technique and chip power. Furthermore, they only reason their chips are competitive -at all- is their recent and massive price cuts.

    AMD chips run hotter, slower, and require more power. Their current designs are reaching their limits, and no feasible new ones are on the horizon. Intel, meanwhile, already in the lead with the Core 2 Duo, is going to jump still further forward with Penryn.

    Why would Apple move to hotter, less efficient chips? Why would Apple partner with a massively unprofitable company? Why would Apple change what they're doing at all at this point?

    I love AMD, and I've been loyal to them since the first K7s came off the line, but Intel has far more potential in the near future with better R&D, better chips, and surprisingly low prices.
    • by geekoid (135745)
      "I love AMD, and I've been loyal to them since the first K7s came off the line,...."

      WHy? by your own admission there are hotter, more power hungry and not as fast.

      There's being a fan, and then there is being a sucker.
    • Why would Apple move to hotter, less efficient chips?
      Because although the early Macbooks gave Sony a run for their money, the Playstation 3 recently retook the lead in the George Foreman market.
    • by slapout (93640) on Wednesday May 02, 2007 @10:02AM (#18956177)
      Ya gotta remember, it wasn't too long ago that the situation was reversed. AMD could jump ahead of Intel again.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by skiflyer (716312)
        The situation was never reversed. The original poster said the performance and the fab. While AMD had the performance crown (And yes, I bought some AMD chips at that point too), Intel has always held the fabrication crown... and that will always make it hard for AMD to take and hold a lead for more than a few months.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by canUbeleiveIT (787307)
        This is true. Three years ago people on /. were predicting the demise of Intel and now they're on top again. Personally, I am going to always do a cost/benefit analysis of any component I use.

        Until recently the balance usually tilted in favor of AMD, but I guess that I don't see how brand loyalty will benefit me at all. What am I going to get, better service from one of the two companies? In seven years in the PC business, I have never had the occasion to even talk to someone at either Intel or AMD.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by LWATCDR (28044)
      Let's get this out right now. AMD's CPUs don't suck. Since the Intel went with the core there is really only one really bad CPU on the market and that is the Pentium D.
      AMD does have a new line of chips coming I am really hopeful that they will be a big step up for AMD so we can keep this war going for a while.

      Why would Apple buy AMD?
      They have a lot of cash laying around.
      They like the idea of an integrated CPU/GPU in the mini/notebook space.
      They like the new quad core cpus in the Pro/Server space.

      Why Apple s
    • by Compholio (770966)

      Their current designs are reaching their limits, and no feasible new ones are on the horizon.
      So the "K10" coming out this summer doesn't count? We keep hearing every week how it's got a 40-50% performance lead over Intel's chips. To be honest, I wouldn't be surprised - Intel may have more research potential but AMD has consistently proved to me that they are actually able to deliver.
  • by elwinc (663074) on Wednesday May 02, 2007 @09:36AM (#18955793)
    If Apple owned AMD, the Apple would be stuck with slower hotter AMD chips! Right now, Apple sells better features and style to price-insensitive buyers. Right now, AMD sells cheaper slower hotter chips to price-conscious buyers. Now Steve Jobs is a great salesman, but do you really think he wants to even try to convince Apple fans that they should avoid computers with those 45nm 3.33GHz quadcore CPUs that everyone else will soon be shipping? I have my doubts...
  • by Noryungi (70322) on Wednesday May 02, 2007 @09:38AM (#18955827) Homepage Journal
    Longer answer: AFAIK, Intel DuoCore chips beat the crap out of AMD in the performance section, and, more importantly to Apple, in the performance-to-power-consumption section. Apple makes a lot of money from schweet laptops [apple.com], and they are not about to ditch the best laptop CPU money can buy for a contender. Also, Apple iPhone is going to use ARM CPUs (Apple, if I remember correctly, was one of the founders of ARM [ot1.com]), and Io and Behold, Intel also has an offering in that area [intel.com].

    In any case, the future of (personal) computing is in the laptop/mobile segment. Apple knows this, and this is why they certainly won't buy AMD.
    • by ajlitt (19055)
      Intel sold off StrongARM/XScale to Marvell some time ago. Besides, there are much better solutions for ARM SOCs than XScale right now.

      Apple probably switched to Intel because they had the lowest power mobile offering, and mobile products are their biggest seller (for full PCs anyway). Apple, just like other big manufacturers are privy to new product information years before the public knows about them. They had made the decision to port OSX and redesign their platforms when we were still bashing the P4 a
    • by dkf (304284)

      Apple, if I remember correctly, was one of the founders of ARM
      You either remember incorrectly or can't tell the difference between Acorn and Apple. (Did you even read that link you posted? I can understand people not RTFA, but not reading the contents of something you link to? Sheesh...)
  • Bad Idea (Score:2, Insightful)

    by TyroneShoe (912878)
    Terrible, awful idea. Despite popular beliefs, Apple is not a hardware manufacturer. Apple works with Chinese sub-contractors to design and manufacture all their laptops, ipods, etc. They have no organizational competency with cpu/gpu design or any chip manufacturing for that matter. Apple and AMD merging would be like gluing a cheeseburger to an airplane. In the end, the sum is no greater than its parts... it's still just a cheeseburger and an airplane.
  • by Per Abrahamsen (1397) on Wednesday May 02, 2007 @09:40AM (#18955851) Homepage
    The deal would be a disaster for Apple, because it would lose the ability to pick the IA32 CPU vendor that at a particular moment delivers the best performance in the metrics relevant for Apple. Intel and AMD has a history of leapfrogging each other, and it is always in the interest of a company to have multiple vendors competing for delivering the best product. This is much better than relying on an in-house department which may or may not perform on par with the rest of the industry.

    For AMD it would be a disaster, because AMD would suddenly be in a position where it competed directly with its own customers. It would in one stroke be one of the largest producers of PC's, which would be unlikely to sit well with the rest of the industry.

    [ The later reason also explain why a an Apple / Disney merger has become less likely, as Apple has become a big time content distributer. ]

    • by suv4x4 (956391)
      The deal would be a disaster for Apple

      Thing is, we all know that, except the article author (and maybe even he knows that but that's why he wrote it). Don't feed the troll submissions.
  • by Notquitecajun (1073646) on Wednesday May 02, 2007 @09:41AM (#18955867)
    "I own a crapload of tanking AMD stock, and need it to go up so I can sell it and, hopefully, make some money back."
  • GM could buy Exxon. Boeing buys GE engines, Southwest Airlines and the FAA. AT&T buys Nokia. Harvard buys MIT. HP buys Compaq after Compaq buys DEC -- oops, how's that working out?

    The in-depth financial analysis of the deal and its impact on AMD's current customers is especially interesting.
  • Not that the CPU is of low importance in computers, but it is still just a component. Now that Apple switched to x86 architecture, it is definitely able to get the fastest CPU:s available to power their own Macs. Why would they need to buy one from such a risky business and how could this possibly help Apple? Lower priced CPU costs? Yes. Loads of expenses to get there? Yes.
  • by c1one (830882) on Wednesday May 02, 2007 @09:42AM (#18955903) Homepage
    This is a ridiculous read and I am appalled that it is on the front page... there must 100s of more worthy submissions.
  • by d3xt3r (527989) on Wednesday May 02, 2007 @09:44AM (#18955919)

    Why on earth would Apple want to acquire a chip and graphics card manufacturer? Didn't Apple specifically go with Intel over AMD due to Intel's stronger road map? I don't doubt that it could have been about price too, but that leads me to my second point.

    Despite Apple's position as a hardware company, a hardware manufacturer they are not. Apple designs their products, sure, but production is outsourced to others. Apple stands to benefit from not being in the chip manufacturing business. As long as Intel and AMD exist to compete against each other, Apple can play off their competition to get the best pricing. The same could be said of leading video card manufacturers NVidia, ATi/AMD, and Intel.

    One would presume that should Apple acquire AMD, their Mac products would become entirely AMD/ATi based. So how does Apple benefit? Becoming their own chip supplier would certainly increase R&D, manufacturing and supply chain costs without yielding a single advantage. Apple needs to remain nimble and flexible. Right now they could drop Intel for AMD in a blink should AMD surpass Intel in price/performance and then jump right back if and when Intel takes the lead back. Should Apple acquire AMD and have AMD chips fall well behind Intel's, Apple would be sitting on a big loss with less than optimal chips in Macs to boot.

    Honestly, the author of TFA doesn't know what he's talking about.

    • back in the mid 80's Apple made a couple stabs at making their own processor architecture and gave up on the idea.

      Until recently, apple steadfastly supported the powerpc architecture that had no other proponent in the desktop/laptop/workstation market. They finally gave up on the idea.

      Why would apple, a company whose fortune is progressively less tied to the computer hardware market, want to buy a processor company? Apple's hardware division has been doing okay in the last few years, but it's the profession
  • Wasn't this said about Sun and Apple in the 90's? I remember people saying that if they merged Solaris could be used for the server os while Mac OS would be used for the desktop and both would use Sparc. That didn't happen and I doubt this would either.
  • Better yet, we already know that Steve Jobs says that DRM sucks. Apple buying AMD could spell the end of "Trusted" Computing, if he were to stick to his guns.

  • Apple sells little boxes that people enjoy.

    If in 2 years IBM comes up with a chip that fits Apples needs, Apple would switch. As long as thre users experience doesn't change, Apple doesn't give a crap.

    Plus AMD isn't better the Intel in any pratical way. From Appples point of view, they are worse.

  • Riiight. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Maul (83993) on Wednesday May 02, 2007 @09:46AM (#18955951) Journal
    Is this before or after they buy out Nintando?

    Seriously, why do people always think Apple should be buying out other companies "just because?"
    • Except buying Nintendo might make sense, if Apple thought they needed to compete with the 360 to gain control of the living room. A hybrid Wii/iTV could be pretty darn nice.

      I'm not saying that's likely, but at least there is some imaginable reason that it might make sense. I can't think of any reason why Apple would want to buy AMD.

  • Remember history? (Score:3, Informative)

    by UnknowingFool (672806) on Wednesday May 02, 2007 @09:50AM (#18956019)
    One of the main reasons Apple went with Intel instead of AMD was because Intel had much better mobile processors. Under Motorola and IBM, Apple's laptops lagged behind in development because of the lack of mobile processor development. When Apple decided to go with Intel, Intel was behind AMD a bit in the desktop market but by the time Apple converted their entire product line, Intel released their Core series and overtook AMD. To this day, AMD still lags behind Intel in mobile processors. Until that is resolved, Apple probably won't use AMD chips much less buy AMD.
    • Apple also uses mobile processors in 2/3 of their desktop lines(the mac pro uses xeons), so yeah, I would say that if 4 out of your 5 models of computer uses the mobile processor, you should probably stick with the best manufacturer of mobile cpus

      *I guess it should be 4/6 since the XServe also uses Xeons, but the XServe seems kind of an afterthought for Apple right now.
  • Of course Apple must have plans to use AMD as a second supplier eventually, but to smooth the switchover from PPC they will have needed to ensure that Intel gave them early access and preferential supplies. That means they almost certainly have an exclusive deal with Intel lasting several years. So don't expect them to buy AMD yet.

  • Come on! Only DVORAK could come up with something so lame, so off-the-wall as this!

    =)

    "This isn't right, this isn't even wrong." - Wolfgang Pauli
  • This fails to address the core issue of why Apple went with Intel rather than AMD in the first place, and thats volume. Apple is concerned AMD would not be able to produce the necessary chips for Apple in timely fashion. Buying them would mean they have to supplement what can be produced at AMD with chips purchased from Intel. It doesn't take a genius to realize that an exclusive contract with Intel is more lucrative and realistic than using AMD or purchasing them.
  • Apple is a sales company. They make stuff that ostensibly 'works'. Any computer maker that tries their own chip fab dies-- and IBM is the only exception to this. What happened to the Alpha? How is Sun and Solaris doing these days? Wanna buy a MIPS?

    AMD is a hardware company. The fraction of sales that goes to end-consumers is near nill. They're caught in a battle with a cranky CEO that is out-of-breath trying to keep up with Intel, rather than simply out-smart Intel (it isn't tough; changing Intel is like tu
    • What happened to the Alpha?

      Lots of things. DEC was bought by Compaq, who appeared to consider the Alpha as a side issue... they were after DEC's support arm. Compaq choked Alpha development, and killed the 8-core (none of this messing around with dual- and quad- core processors) EV8 (while telling customers it was the way forward) then killed Alpha (while telling customers they had a roadmap) right before HP (who was making a competing processor) bought them. I don't know whether going fabless was part of t
      • My point exactly.

        Apple buying AMD would be a kiss of death-- probably for AMD if it doesn't drown Apple.

        The Alpha was a wonderful design; visionary.
  • 3DFX ring a bell? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Mr Pippin (659094) on Wednesday May 02, 2007 @10:07AM (#18956237)
    I don't think Apple taking over AMD is a win-win idea.

    I recall 3DFX's road to failure started with their acquisition of STB, letting them control all aspects of their graphics cards.
    • by mp3phish (747341)
      Actually, 3DFX's road to failure started with their crappy OpenGL drivers and their inability to break their habits of locking gamers into their GLIDE api.

      The STB purchase was just the nail in the coffin after they were trying to make their company (and thus their GLIDE api) larger and bigger to enable them to compete against OpenGL. It had the reverse effect because all the other vendors who used to sell GLIDE out there immediately put their support behind OpenGL and said "screw you".
  • by kcbrown (7426) <slashdot@sysexperts.com> on Wednesday May 02, 2007 @10:11AM (#18956277)

    It used to be that you could keep a company going simply by consistenly producing good products for a good price and a reasonable profit. As long as the products and the price both remained good, people would buy the products and the profits would keep coming in. Obviously the products would have to be refined over time as the needs of the customer base changed, but this fundamental approach is sound.

    For some reason, that's not good enough for Wall Street anymore. And so, the notion that companies must grow and expand to be "successful" has been pounded into everyone's head until nobody bothers to question it anymore. And the end result is idiotic articles like this one.

    Apple produces a good product for a good price and a reasonable profit. They have been doing this for the last 25 years, ever since their inception. They have stumbled from time to time, yes, but they have survived all this time because when they were in trouble they dropped back to this simple, but time-tested, approach.

    Despite this, there have been constant predictions of Apple's demise. After all, how could a company be "successful" if it didn't continuously expand, right?

    One needn't expand in order to succeed. One need only provide something that others need or want at a price they can afford and at a price that brings in enough profit to get the job done. Hewlett-Packard appeared to have understood this, back when Bill Hewlett and David Packard were running things. Apple appears to understand this now, under the tutelage of Steve Jobs.

    The "expand or die" mantra comes as a result of most stocks today being valued based on how much their share price will rise in the future, because for some reason paying dividends (which any steady-state business would do if it were sane, and which I believe most companies used to do) has become passe. That's not good for the company (and thus its employees and customers) in the long run because expansion is unsustainable and almost always leads to a loss of focus.

  • by boyfaceddog (788041) on Wednesday May 02, 2007 @10:13AM (#18956301) Journal
    Solvang Advanced Ploymers (http://www.solvayadvancedpolymers.com/ [solvayadva...lymers.com])becasue they use a lot of plastics, and stuff. I bet there are a lot of other companies Apple could buy that happen to produce things they consume. Apple uses hard drives. Why don't they buy Hitachi? Just becasue Apple has decided to use something doesn't mean they need to buy the company.
  • by Yvanhoe (564877) on Wednesday May 02, 2007 @10:33AM (#18956579) Journal
    News at 7
  • for AMD chip sets, The ATI video cards, HTX cards, AMD Fusion, Torrenza and so on.
    Also intel x86 64 bit is based on AMD x86 64bit.

    Torrenza sound like a cool thing that apple may want to have some day.
  • Noooo! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Rynth (1092427)
    Apple SHOULDN'T acquire AMD, for the simple reason that AMD products are cheap, and Apple products, well, aren't. AMD keep their place in the market by producing good cheap processors, if they sell themselves to Apple, they'll become expensive bad processors.. See where I'm going with that?
  • I don't think so (Score:3, Insightful)

    by rlp (11898) on Wednesday May 02, 2007 @10:44AM (#18956737)
    Apple is in the midst of remaking themselves as a consumer electronics company (hence dropping the 'computer' from their name). They have established a well respected brand and have considerable competence in this area. Why would they want to spend billions of dollars buying into a business (CPU design and fabrication) in which they have no experience?
  • If Apple bought AMD, could we see OSX working only on AMD processors? It would be neat to build my own rig and be able to install OSX on my ugly beige box legally.
  • by jcr (53032)
    Whether it's AMD, Tivo, SGI, Palm, or any other company in decline, Apple's not in the business of rescuing companies. Anything those companies have to offer to Apple could be obtained for far less than the cost of 1) buying them and 2) the management distraction of integrating them into Apple.

    -jcr

  • by Infonaut (96956) <infonaut@gmail.com> on Wednesday May 02, 2007 @11:07AM (#18957091) Homepage Journal
    • Apple wants leverage over both Intel and AMD. Right now, it can pressure Intel to deliver, and it can if necessary entice AMD with promises to switch chip suppliers if AMD can leapfrog Intel in capabilities. If Apple AMD, it no longer has leverage over Intel.
    • Apple will have a new marketing problem if it buys AMD. Think of the reaction from John and Joan Q. Public: "Are Macs still 'compatible'?"
    • Apple is moving into the mobile phone market and expanding into the living room at the same time. Buying a chip company would be a huge diversion of resources at a dangerous time.
    • Would Apple's hardware competitors buy from an Apple-owned AMD? Probably many of them would, but an Apple-owned AMD wouldn't have as much lattitude as an independent AMD, and that would limit its options in selling to other hardware vendors.
  • Alright, someone is making this judgement with a paintbrush when they should be using a calculator.

    Apple doesn't have enough cash [nasdaq.com]to buy AMD and currently has only $9.8bn in assets. They also have $6.4bn in long and short term debts. AMD would cost about $7.3bn to buy based on today's market cap. Apple would have to pay about a 20% premium to that at least, making it about $8.8bn. To then pay off AMD's debts, $9.4bn [nasdaq.com]including the latest senior note offering, [forbes.com] Apple would need that ammount of cash in
  • by kindbud (90044) on Wednesday May 02, 2007 @03:25PM (#18961199) Homepage
    Dvorak, put away those leaves, they aren't tea leaves.

    Sun buying AMD is much more likely and actually makes sense. Sun's SPARC design is at the end of its life and the company is nearing the end of its transition to the x86 architecture. Sun knows how to run a chip business, server business and software business, and wants to keep running those businesses. AMD has their chip. It's a good match.

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