It seems that not a day goes by without another rumour or report about someone looking to buy out AMD. According to sources, Microsoft is in talks with AMD about an acquisition which isn’t the first time we’ve heard. A little over 2 months ago, rumours were also abounding that Microsoft was in talks to acquire AMD, but nothing has come out of it yet. This time around, it is very much more of the same so don’t expect anything unless we get more concrete information.
Given Microsoft’s relatively massive expenditures already to acquire Minecraft, and Nokia, spending another few billion (AMD market capitalization is $1.6 Billion) wouldn’t be too much. With AMD under their control, Microsoft would be able to guarantee supply for their consoles and data center business as well as produce custom chips. It would also give the Xbox an edge against the next PlayStation in potentially both performance and cost. With promising 16nm products and Zen in the pipeline, a cash infusion and new organizing structure might be just what AMD needs to become competitive in the long run.
A big hurdle would likely be regulatory approval as a software giant moving into the hardware space as well might prove problematic. Locking out competitors like Sony from custom chips or tailoring Windows to run better on AMD hardware (or vice versa) might be considered anti-competitive or monopolistic. Even if Microsoft won’t use such tactics, sheer concern might prevent an acquisition from occurring. This only leaves acquiring AMD but letting it operate independently as the sole option. The biggest question is whether or not Microsoft sees acquiring AMD as a good move and given CEO Nadella’s focus on services, it remains to be seen if Microsoft wants to take on even more hardware business.
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