AMD To Buy Chip Line From National Semiconductor

Acquiring the Geode line of microprocessors is another effort by AMD to expand its offerings beyond chips for PCs.

InformationWeek Staff, Contributor

August 6, 2003

2 Min Read

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) -- In an effort to further expand its chip offerings beyond personal computers, Advanced Micro Devices Inc. said Wednesday it's purchasing the Information Appliance unit of National Semiconductor Corp.

Financial details of the deal, which is expected to close later this month, were not disclosed.

AMD will acquire intellectual property and other assets consisting mainly of the Geode family of microprocessors, which National Semiconductor bet would be the chip of choice for so-called information appliances such as kitchen Web browsers and E-mail readers.

The gadgets, like 3Com's Audrey and Sony's eVilla, never caught on with customers because of hefty price tags and limited functions. They also were introduced just as the tech bubble was bursting.

AMD, which has been struggling financially as it tries to compete with larger rival Intel Corp., is hoping the Geode chip line will find a home within set-top boxes and portable computer displays. The chip is built on the same x86 architecture as most of today's PC processors.

"With this acquisition, AMD would be the only company with the assets, dedicated resources, and strategic vision to deliver a common industry-standard architecture from embedded applications to mobile, desktop and servers," said Hector Ruiz, AMD's chief executive.

Other chip architectures such as ARM and MIPS are more widely used in non-PC devices. In fact, AMD last year purchased the assets of Alchemy Semiconductor and recently showed off a handheld computer based on MIPS-based Alchemy chips.

Under the latest deal, 132 employees from National Semiconductor will join AMD's Personal Connectivity Solutions group. About 65 employees will be laid off.

In February, Santa Clara-based National Semiconductor announced its intent to sell its Information Appliance unit, which accounts for less than 5 percent of its revenue. National said it planned to focus on analog technologies.

"This deal makes sense for both companies," Brian Halla, National's chief executive, said in a statement.

Never Miss a Beat: Get a snapshot of the issues affecting the IT industry straight to your inbox.

You May Also Like

More Insights