It was just a couple weeks ago that Apple bought PA Semi, a custom PowerPC chip design firm. But now that a few details about the acquisition are leaking out, a new light has begun to shine on this subject. According to an EETimes post, Apple considered buying PA Semi back in 2005, prior to the Intel switch. Oh yeah, and one minor detail ... Apple has been an investor in the company since that time. When Apple started using Intel chips, that move sent a death threat to PA Semi.
Per the EETimes story, Apple came along to purchase a new chip from PA Semi. PA Semi didn't have enough investor funding to undertake a new project. So, what does Apple do? They pay off the investors and buy the whole company. Apple bought PA Semi for $278 million -- no pocket change, that's for sure. How important could this chip be for Apple to pay that much money? Well it might just be for a new tablet Mac (remember, you heard this rumor here first).