Apple buys P.A. Semi chip designer, Intel says wha?

Apple loves 'em some Intel right? Sure, it was the Intel power-per-watt roadmap which Jobs cited as the reason to ditch IBM's PowerPC platform. Analysts have since been tripping over themselves with speculation about future generation iPhones and iPod touches going Intel -- especially since the arrival of Atom. So what will analysts make of Apple's $278 million in cash purchase of the 150 person P.A. Semi microprocessor design company? The company was founded by Dan Dobberpuhl, lead designer of DEC's doomed Alpha and StrongArm processors, and responsible for the introduction of a 2GHz, 64-bit dual-core microprocessor which in February 2007 was said to be 300% more efficient than comparable chips running at 5 to 13 watts. Forbes speculates that Apple will wrap its ARMs around the company's boutique processor in a bid for exclusivity -- a move meant to differentiate itself from competition using Intel and other off-the-shelf processors. Interestingly, after a long courtship with P.A. Semi, the acquisition discussions only began in the last few weeks. Say what you want about Jobs, but he's nothing if not a man who knows what he wants and makes damn sure he gets it.

Update: Oh shazam! We just remembered that P.A. Semi and Apple had been this close to a deal just prior (as in minutes) to the announced Intel switch in 2006. Interesting, very interesting. Why now Apple?

Read -- P.A. Semi PWRficient processor announcement
Read -- Forbes