Wednesday, April 18th 2012

AMD and Google in Race to Buy Out MIPS

AMD and Google are locked in a race to buy out MIPS, an application processor architecture designer competitive to ARM. AMD comes from a decades old presence in the microprocessor industry, while Google is a satrap with smartphones, tablets, and other mobile computing devices thanks to its Android operating system. With Microsoft opening up to ARM architecture with Windows 8 RT, it is in Google's interests to hedge its bets on an alternative machine architecture to both x86 and ARM. The easiest way to that is buying out MIPS and funding development of powerful processors based on it. For AMD, it's a bid to stay competitive in the low-power processor market as Intel began making inroads to smartphone processor market.

Source: Bright Side of News, Image Courtesy: X-bit Labs
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33 Comments on AMD and Google in Race to Buy Out MIPS

#1
caleb
Google on its way to IT world dominance.
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#2
ensabrenoir
This gonna be interesting...gotta buy more popcorn.
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#6
Vulpesveritas
by: hardcore_gamer
How can AMD afford this ?:confused:
Maybe they won a lawsuit or was given money we haven't heard about?
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#7
NC37
by: hardcore_gamer
How can AMD afford this ?:confused:
Gamecube, Wii, 360, WiiU, 720, PS4...plus regaining ground on NV in the discrete and IGP sectors. Even if their CPU end is ailing, AMD has a lot going on in the graphics. Plus a lot of future contracts worth big money. If they don't have it all now, they can get more investment by riding their graphics name.

So literally, the old AMD couldn't do this, but former ATI side of AMD can.
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#8
stupido
Actually this is kind of interesting.. in a sense that not too long ago I read somewhere that Chinese government was looking to buy MIPS architecture too...
thus why so sudden interest in 'almost dead' processor architecture?
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#9
rpsgc
I hope AMD "wins" (i.e. buys them). I'd root for them even if I didn't like AMD... because f**k Google.
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#10
adrianx
How can AMD afford this ?....

Simple with the money that come from united arab emirates (the guys with MORE oil in back yard)

simple search with google.... amd emirates and will see the 8.1 % oil that run in AMD veins :)
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#12
faramir
by: stupido
thus why so sudden interest in 'almost dead' processor architecture?
It is far from being dead. It is an extremely powerful RISC architecture, comparable to ARM as far as power consumption (performance per watt) is concerned yet already has 64-bit extension for ages, plenty of other useful extensions, and is a proven design. ARM still has some way to get as far as MIPS from technological standpoint. While this didn't matter much few years ago when ARM took the mobile device market (because memory was more expensive abck then and nobody imagined mobile devices woudl be hitting 4 GB anytime soon ...) it does matter now and ARM is only going to come up with 64-bit version in what, almost 2 years ?

AMD recenly acquired a low-power server manufacturer. Low power architecture, that ahs been used in server/workstation environment since 2 decades ago, could easily be making a comeback via this acquisition. AMD also has experience with smaller production nodes and MIPS needs to be scaled down in order to be even more competitive. On top of that AMD has been losing good engineers en-masse as of lately so new blood could resuscitate its x86 CPU department as well.

As far as Google is concerned: MIPS is valued at well under 1 billion USD at the moment and Google ahs 50 billion USD in its piggy. Why not use it for prospective acquisitions today (when MIPS is making its entry into mobile market, in addition to the networking appliance market it has been relegated to since the collapse of SGI business) rather than later when its price soars skyhigh ?

If I had $700M to spare I'd be seriously considering MIPS as well, I believe they will be one of the bright stars of computer industry in the next few years :)
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#13
Thefumigator
The interesting thing is, that Google Android os also runs on mips.

moreover, android apps are architecture agnostic and also run on mips as long as its running android. Unless the app runs some ARM assembly code (most 3D games and 3D apps), it will run perfectly fine on mips

The ainol novo tablet is one example of a mips powered android device.
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#14
yogurt_21
Possibility 1. Google wins out, AMD has teh sad.

Possibility 2. AMD wins out, Google rages, buys AMD and then fires anyone involved with the MIPS deal.


*grabs popcorn.
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#15
Morgoth
^last min intel buys MIPS
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#16
Depth
I'm looking forward to the day Google buys it's own island nation and starts fabricating Google Guns. It'll be way cheaper and customizable than iShoot (jailbreak to fire semi-auto).
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#17
a_ump
man google really is trying to get into every corner of the market. Now if google were to buy MIPS, wouldn't that mean they'd be manufacturing processors? definitely never thought google would be doing hardware. Hope AMD wins, as with their experience i wonder what they could do with the architecture as i'm sure they have more R&D than the current owner of MIPS.
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#18
GC_PaNzerFIN
by: Morgoth
^last min intel buys MIPS
I don't think they care. But I bet they are laughing their asses off at Intel HQ when even Google wants to kick AMD in the nuts. Even if AMD gets the deal, it will be very expensive. Google will make sure of that.
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#20
stupido
by: faramir
It is far from being dead. It is an extremely powerful RISC architecture, comparable to ARM as far as power consumption (performance per watt) is concerned yet already has 64-bit extension for ages, plenty of other useful extensions, and is a proven design. ARM still has some way to get as far as MIPS from technological standpoint. While this didn't matter much few years ago when ARM took the mobile device market (because memory was more expensive abck then and nobody imagined mobile devices woudl be hitting 4 GB anytime soon ...) it does matter now and ARM is only going to come up with 64-bit version in what, almost 2 years ?

AMD recenly acquired a low-power server manufacturer. Low power architecture, that ahs been used in server/workstation environment since 2 decades ago, could easily be making a comeback via this acquisition. AMD also has experience with smaller production nodes and MIPS needs to be scaled down in order to be even more competitive. On top of that AMD has been losing good engineers en-masse as of lately so new blood could resuscitate its x86 CPU department as well.

As far as Google is concerned: MIPS is valued at well under 1 billion USD at the moment and Google ahs 50 billion USD in its piggy. Why not use it for prospective acquisitions today (when MIPS is making its entry into mobile market, in addition to the networking appliance market it has been relegated to since the collapse of SGI business) rather than later when its price soars skyhigh ?

If I had $700M to spare I'd be seriously considering MIPS as well, I believe they will be one of the bright stars of computer industry in the next few years :)
after I post my previous comment, I did some digging and I agree on everything you said... :)
to me was 'almost dead' because you have: PC - x86; mobiles - ARM; higher end embedded: mainly PPC & ARM (don't count the lowends like 8/16bits, DSPs;
but indeed I forgot the old-timers media and network processors... :)
the hell, in the previous company where I worked , we even considered au1100 as main candidate for our device-in-mind (that was like 8-9 years ago)...
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#21
stupido
by: Thefumigator
The interesting thing is, that Google Android os also runs on mips.

moreover, android apps are architecture agnostic and also run on mips as long as its running android. Unless the app runs some ARM assembly code (most 3D games and 3D apps), it will run perfectly fine on mips

The ainol novo tablet is one example of a mips powered android device.
ainol novo? never heard of it... will google it...
Posted on Reply
#22
faramir
by: stupido
ainol novo? never heard of it... will google it...
Ultra-cheap Android tablet, based on MIPS CPU (SoC actually). This works because Linux (which Android is based upon) runs on MIPS for ages. Recompiling native applications should be no more difficult than porting from x86 to ARM for example.

Heck, most people probably don't realize that Windows (NT, the starter of the Win2K/XP/Vista/7/8 branch) once ran on MIPS as well. Since Microsoft seems to be going architecture-agnostic as well there is no reason why they couldn't make a MIPS port of Windows 8 and its successors as well if market shares change enough to make this a profitable decision. This would instantly make MIPS products much more appealing to the masses.
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#23
Steevo
AMD needs this, if Google wins they will have a foothold to dramatically undercut the smartphone market with low cost devices, drive out competition, and then stop innovation.


We the consumer need AMD to win the bid, unless you want to be stuck with the same technology for years as the most cost effective is also the most mediocre. It sounds wrong to not have cheaper devices, but the end effect is a loss of innovation.
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#24
Kantastic
The world's first Google-authorized ICS tablet was the Chinese-made, MIPS-based, 7" Ainol Novo 7 Paladin tablet. It sells for sub-$100 and ships from China, but without hours of tweaking, it fails to run even the most common apps (like YouTube and Google Maps) due to the architectural difference between ARM and MIPS processors. I'm hoping for Google to buy MIPS so that it can influence software developers for Android OS. AMD can't do much with it since we all know the market bows to and develops software optimized for Intel.
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#25
Makaveli
by: hardcore_gamer
How can AMD afford this ?:confused:
lol I was just gonna say this google can buy amd 10x over.

What race!!
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