A few weeks ago TI announced plans to get out of supplying integrated system-on-a-chip components to the tablet and smartphone market, a move which would upset B&N, Amazon, and a number of othe gadget makers, all of whom are making devices built around an Omaps chip.
A new rumor out today suggests that Amazon didn’t take this news all that well, and According to the rumor they are in talks to buy the Omaps division:
Amazon is currently in advanced negotiations to acquire the mobile chips from Texas Instruments, and thus may compete with the major electronics manufacturers such as Qualcomm, Samsung, Intel, Anbidih, and Apple.
The deal would likely be worth billions, but I’m not so sure that one, the rumor is real, and two, whether Amazon actually has the funds available.
But it would make a lot of sense for Amazon. This would put them in a position to secure a core component for their hardware, and with luck they would be able to customize the chips to suit their own needs. If they did that then they would be following in the footsteps of Apple, which has been working with CPU makers to create one of a kind chips for iOS devices for the past several years.
This would also mark a big change for TI. I can recall from CES 2010 that they were making a big deal about how they could supply a custom SOC solution for ereaders which integrated the screen controller into the CPU. They even had a funky-looking but eye-catching demo unit which showed up at a couple trade shows.
Even if Amazon does strike a deal, I’m not so sure US regulators will let it go through. Amazon will control not only their own chip supplier but one which sells chips to Amazon’s competition. That’s going to give B&N, et al deep interest in trying to block it. I’m not sure they will succeed but they will try.