If you thought that news of Windows 10 downloading in the background without your knowledge was the biggest bombshell to come out of Redmond, Washington today, then you’re sorely mistaken. A very interesting rumor is making the rounds that has the possibility to send shockwaves through the entire computing industry.
Microsoft is reportedly in talks to acquire AMD, which would make things quite interesting not only in the CPU sector (where AMD has played second fiddle to Intel for years), but also in the graphics sector (where AMD dukes it out with NVIDIA). For all its efforts to stand up to Intel recently, AMD just hasn’t had much luck in making a noticeable dent in the company’s massive share of the desktop, notebook, and server markets. And even in the graphics sector, NVIDIA has opened up a pretty significant lead in the discrete graphics market [PDF] as far as sales are concerned.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella
So what exactly would Microsoft be receiving for what no doubt would be a multibillion dollar transaction? For one, Microsoft would be able to bring chip development in-house, which would allow it to have tighter control over the central processing and graphics capabilities of future iterations of Xbox gaming consoles. There’s also the fact that Microsoft is looking build more of its own first-party hardware devices ranging from Windows 10 Mobile-based smartphones to the Surface Pro 3 (and eventual Surface Pro 4) to the massive (and delayed) Surface Hubs.
Bringing more and more hardware development in-house, coupled with Microsoft’s already immense expertise could make for some interesting hardware in the future. Apple has risen to become one of the largest companies in the world by maintaining tight control over all aspects of hardware and software design — we have no doubt that Microsoft sees the benefits of this approach as well.
Microsoft last big hardware acquisition, Nokia’s Hardware and Services Division, didn’t exactly go over so well. Microsoft ended up writing off $7.6 billion and laying off thousands of employees in the wake of the epic blunder. If this report of a tie-up with AMD is indeed true, let’s hope things thing progress a lot more smoothly this time around.