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AMD confirms Alchemy acquisition

Posted: 08 Feb 2002 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:advanced micro devices? alchemy semiconductor? pc connectivity device? mips-compatible processor core? microcontroller?

Advanced Micro Devices Inc. announced Tuesday (Feb. 5) that it will buy Alchemy Semiconductor Inc., forming a new division to focus on non-PC connectivity devices.

The acquisition was first reported by EE Times last month.

Hector Ruiz, president and chief operating officer of AMD, announced that William (Billy) Edwards, a former Motorola Inc. executive, will join AMD to run the Personal Connectivity Solutions business unit. Edwards served under Ruiz as a strategic planning manager when Ruiz ran Motorola's Semiconductor Products Sector before joining AMD in 1999.

Alchemy, a 70-person startup, has developed a MIPS-compatible processor core, the Au1000, and has fielded several standard microcontrollers based on the core aimed at Internet access devices. The core provides 500MHz of performance at 1W, or 400MHz at 0.5W.

Analyst Will Strauss, president of Forward Concepts, said the acquisition will establish a much-needed beachhead for AMD in the communications sector as the personal computer market slows. AMD will need to make other acquisitions to develop a more complete suite of software and semiconductor intellectual property for the wireless market, Strauss said.

Dataquest Inc. analyst Tom Starnes has expressed doubt that AMD would be able to penetrate the "Internet edge devices" market with a MIPS-based architecture, noting that the handheld market has largely adopted the ARM architecture, which Intel Corp. supports with its StrongARM-compatible Xscale products now in commercial sampling.

But Strauss said a MIPS core would have a place. "For those applications that need more performance, many companies prefer the MIPS cores because that implementation is just a little bit cleaner than the ARM," he said.

Ruiz said AMD will target PDAs, Web tablets, and portable and wired gateways and Internet access devices, which he called "one of our industry's great growth opportunities."

"By joining forces, AMD and Alchemy can supply the building blocks of connectivity?computing solutions from Alchemy coupled with wired and wireless technologies and flash memory devices from AMD. Alchemy's MIPS-based solutions provide the ideal combination of high performance and low power for the Internet access device market," said Ruiz.

? David Lammers

EE Times

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