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Apple Considered Buying Imagination, No Offer For Now

After the recent layoffs at Imagination and some rumors that Apple may be considering purchasing the GPU company, Apple confirmed that the two companies have been talking about a potential acquisition, but no offer has been made so far.

“From time to time, Apple talks with companies about potential acquisitions. We had some discussions with Imagination, but we do not plan to make an offer for the company at this time,” said Apple in an official statement.

Although Imagination didn’t lay off anyone from its PowerVR, Ensigma and MIPS business divisions, the company has shown some signs that it’s struggling to gain new revenue or even maintain its market share in the core GPU market. Both ARM and Qualcomm have been chipping away at its GPU market share over the past few years. At the same time, Imagination has failed to reduce its dependence on Apple, its biggest customer by far in terms of revenue generated.

Imagination’s mobile GPUs are still some of the best, if not the best on the market, which is why Apple has kept using them for so long. The company even created the Metal low-level graphics API to be optimized for Imagination’s GPU hardware. There is significant synergy between the two companies at this point, which is why the acquisition would make sense for both companies.

Apple already controls how its CPU is designed, but the other major part of its SoCs is the GPU, which is still designed by Imagination. If Apple acquired Imagination, it would be free to not only design the GPUs exactly as it wanted for further integration with its CPU and other chips, but also to expand them to its Macbook line.

Imagination currently has a market cap of roughly half a billion British pounds (or about $750 million USD), which wouldn’t be all that expensive Apple and its deep pockets. However, Apple may feel that it could get the IP company for less in a couple of years if Imagination’s revenues shrink.

Perhaps ironically, because of the significant synergy between the two companies, Apple is also not in a big hurry to buy Imagination. However, as we’ve seen with AMD, if things go downhill too quickly, the top talent may also leave Imagination for Qualcomm, Intel or Nvidia. That’s talent Apple could risk losing if it waits too long, assuming the situation doesn't improve for Imagination over the next few years (something that could still happen, given a few strategic choices).

Lucian Armasu is a Contributing Writer for Tom's Hardware. You can follow him at @lucian_armasu. Follow us on FacebookGoogle+, RSS, Twitter and YouTube.

Lucian Armasu
Lucian Armasu is a Contributing Writer for Tom's Hardware US. He covers software news and the issues surrounding privacy and security.
  • unksol
    Makes sense. Apple could use some imagination.
    Reply
  • Pedasc
    Makes sense. Apple could use some imagination.

    The way the title is written it kind of lends itself to this joke. I know it was the first thing I thought of. I wonder if that was on purpose.
    Reply
  • memadmax
    "but also to expand them to its Macbook line."

    NOT.

    Apple would be crazy to close their systems(again) from ATI/Nvidia... Won't happen, keeping the graphics option open is the one thing that keeps the lights on in the laptop/desktop department within apple...
    Reply
  • ZeusGamer
    Is there a typo in this paragraph?

    "Imagination currently has a market cap of roughly half a billion British pounds (or about $750 million USD), which wouldn’t be all that expensive Apple and its deep pockets. However, Apple may feel that it could get the IP company for less in a couple of years if Imagination’s revenues shrink.
    "
    Reply
  • aldaia
    "Apple Considered Buying Imagination"

    There is a big step from "considering buying" and actually doing so. Just a few years ago Apple "considered buying" Intel.
    Reply
  • TrueAmigaMan
    First they never had anything to do with the A whatever. It stands for ACCORN Its an old out of date risc cpu.. They got sued by Commodore and Accorn lost . Even the ppc tears it apart. The AMIGA was going PARISC aka ITANIUM, and did via the HOMBRE. under the Toaster Over/Screamer .you could have over 250 cpus ,and mix and match them ITanium and parisc of which the Itanium is the newer version of the Parisc only its on steroids as of 2003 ,because its true 64 core with true 256bit per each core. Plus, you can mix and match Sgi ,Alpha, and PPC with in the whole system.All based on The Amiga 4000 or Amiga 2000 ..Amiga Amiga os 3.1-3.9./ amiga os1.3-2.1 respectively of course it would modularize to true 256 bit ,and its registered under the true 64 true unix site .NO x86 = / mac is due to the fact that mac and is x86 which are the same non UNIX no true 64 non multitasking non real-time are claiming which they aren't,, So they had to make a registering to straighten things out. Besides they never invented a dam thing Amiga really invented a lot of things. VR, for one pfft 1987 via Amiga really nice, and better, heck they had those games in Canada and Europe by 1989. Based mostly on an Amiga 2000 really a desktop Amiga 1000 sad so sad ,and you guys cant beat that still mac = pc pfft lol.
    Apple itself or rather really, they did go under .Really ,think about they never had this much money.How do they now .They where bigger back in the day then now,and yet they can buy more stuff with less money ,and don't own themselves,,,I know not.. Who makes everything about apple products ..think think dah Intel ..there you have thats who apple really is thats who bought out apple ..i wonder whom apple is going to turn into lol maybe another system think long and hard,,
    Be honest ,and wake up sheepeople ..the EARTH is FLAT
    John 3:17
    Reply