Monday, October 18, 2021

AMD and MediaTek rumored to be considering a joint venture

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Chalk one up in the “Interesting if true” column. There are reports that MediaTek and AMD might form a joint venture combining 5G technology into future chipsets. As always, rumors like this should be taken with a grain of salt.

To put it differently: With the Intel-MediaTek part in-market already, AMD might be looking to position itself as a fast follower, with a chip ready by the time the feature goes mainstream.

The idea of an AMD-MediaTek partnership makes sense in some ways. Intel is already partnering with MediaTek to put 5G radios in laptops. Cellular laptop connectivity has never really caught on as a major feature, but AMD may be trying to ensure Intel can’t lock it out of the market for premium laptop SKUs if the 5G modem feature goes high-end. It will take a few years for any product to emerge, so this wouldn’t be a short-term maneuver.

It’s not clear if MediaTek would provide just the modem SoC or if there would be some kind of deeper collaboration between the two companies. THG notes that AMD’s recent acquisition of Xilinx might present some novel opportunities for collaboration between the two companies, which is an interesting wrinkle to the situation that I hadn’t thought of.

There’s a lot of jockeying for position in the semiconductor industry right now. Even smaller, second-tier foundries are expanding their factories and building out new capacity. There’s no sign of a larger deal between AMD and MediaTek, but the booming semiconductor business makes it easier to imagine one.

AMD’s semi-custom business has been quietly building steam for itself. The Microsoft and Sony deals are large and ongoing sources of revenue, of course, but the company has also signed deals with Tesla and with Samsung to provide gaming solutions and design mobile graphics chips, respectively.

News Summary:

  • AMD and MediaTek rumored to be considering a joint venture
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