Crazy Or Plausible? Intel Rumored To Consider AMD Acquisition

All things considered, the Consumer Electronics Show that wrapped up last week was pretty wild, comparatively speaking. AMD rolled out its 7nm Radeon VII for gamers, NVIDIA announced it was embracing FreeSync, and Intel showed off its 10nm Ice Lake platform. All good stuff, but one of the more interesting tidbits is a rumor that emerged involving Intel and AMD.

The two chip makers are obviously rivals, and once Intel releases its first modern discrete GPU in 2020, competition between the two companies will kick up a notch. What could make things even more interesting, though, is if Intel somehow manages to acquire AMD by then. Wait, what!?

EETimes says it heard from numerous C-level executives that Intel is considering buying out AMD. We're not sure that is really feasible, even if Intel wanted to, because of regulatory hurdles. On top of that, do we really want just a single player in the x86 space? Still, it is an interesting rumor.

Intel manufacturing D1X 1

For one thing, AMD has emerged as a force in the CPU sector. It's competed for decades, of course, but before Ryzen, you have to go back to the Athlon 64 days to see AMD truly asserting itself into the enthusiast discussion. AMD is in a much better place now, and is very much in the limelight with its Ryzen, Threadripper, and EPYC processors, and its rapid march to 7 nanometers.

Intel, meanwhile, spent a portion of CES reassuring everyone that its 10-nanometer plans are still on track. What's also interesting is that Intel is without a permanent leader after Brian Krzanich resigned as CEO last summer. Intel has yet to name a replacement.

That brings up another rumor, or speculation—rather buying AMD outright, some analysts believe Intel might try to poach AMD CEO Dr. Lisa Su. That comes with its own set of challenges and we don't see that happening either, but anything is possible, right? After all, AMD's former graphics boss Raja Koduri left the company and joined Intel after launching Vega.

"She's got a hot hand. The AMD troops like her quite a bit, but I also think she's ruthless enough to run Intel," Kathleen Maher, vice president at Jon Peddie Research, said of Dr. Lisa Su.

Maher also noted that acquisition rumors bubble up from time to time, not just in regards to Intel buying AMD, but also involving NVIDIA as the purchaser.

These are all long shots in our mind, but also intriguing, especially for investors. Incidentally, AMD's stock up nearly 1 percent in early morning trading today.