Apple's acquisition of PowerPC developers under threat
The planned takeover of PowerPC developers P.A.Semi by Apple could fall through because of pressure that might be exerted by the US Department of Defense (DoD). A report by EETimes which quotes a source from the customer base of P.A. Semi states that several manufacturers incorporate the power saving PWRficient processors in their embedded systems. These systems are, in turn, used in military devices. A single one of these projects could require more than 70,000 chips within the next ten years, said the report.
In its takeover announcement, P.A. Semi informed its customers that it cannot guarantee the future delivery of the processors as the license transfer will first need to be cleared with another company. The license in question is likely to be a PowerPC patent held by IBM, said the report. The customer in question also feared that Apple might be less interested in the actual processors than in the intellectual property and the developing skills of the company's work force.
Long term availability is an important aspect with embedded components – especially for military customers. If the fears concerning the possible discontinuation of the PWRficient range voiced by arms manufacturers are confirmed and the US Department of Defense is alerted, the DoD could prevent or at least delay Apple's takeover of P.A. Semi.