Reuters is reporting that chip giant Intel bought 25 million shares of a UK chip designer on Wednesday, and no, it wasn't ARM.
Imagination Technologies specialises in the design of SoC (System on a Chip) designs for embedded graphics processing applications. It's also the company behind the PURE digital radio brand.
Intel already uses Imagination IP in some of its consumer electronics products, but it's thought that the main interest for Intel is in incorporating Imagination graphics designs into its future mobile phone chipsets.
This share acquisition takes Intel's total shareholding in Imagination to around 32 million, which equates to 14 percent of the total issued voting rights in the company. However Intel has said it has no plans to acquire the whole company, of which a 3.6 percent stake is also owned by Apple, citing only ‘strategic reasons' for the acquisition.
Intel's desire to expand its embedded offerings is well known, with the looming battle with the ARM ecosystem in the smartphone and netbook markets lying at the core of it. Intel's historic collaboration with chip foundry TSMC was designed specifically to help it in these markets.
ARM has its own graphics IP called Mali, but many users of its chip designs, like NVIDIA and Qualcomm, have substantial graphics processing resources of their own. It therefore makes sense for Intel to accelerate its capabilities in this area if it intends to compete with them.