MIPS designs processor architectures and licenses them to manufactures in a similar way to ARM Holdings. The MIPS architecture, based on RISC CPUs, is commonly used in consumer electronic devices from media players to low-end smartphones.
Because of the differences in RISC vs CISC architecture, MIPS has been able to make advancements with their chips earlier than their CISC competition. For example, they developed a 64-bit architecture in the early 90s and have deployed it to enterprise workstations being used by the likes of Silicon Graphics and Intergraph.
Bloomberg reported last week that MIPS has hired Goldman Sachs to help the company find a buyer and facilitate the acquisition.
On Financial Analyst Day 2012, AMD CEO Rory Read and Senior Vice President Lisa Su announced that AMD was planning an “ambidextrous” mobile strategy. They announced, to the curiosity of many, that company would no longer be “religious” about architectures and this flexibility would be the pillar of the company’s strategic advantage.
“You’ll see a breakdown of proprietary control points, those control points that have dominated our industry for years and years,” CEO Read said. “The status quo will break down.”
Speculation at the time held that CEO Read was ‘ARMing’ AMD, by potentially licensing the technology of ARM holdings. However, given the likelihood that AMD may purchase MIPS outright, it seems unlikely now that the company will open itself to 3rd party IP by way of licensing.
AMD’s acquisition of the company is not a sure thing. MIPS has other potential suitors lined up; BSN* believes that list includes NVidia, Google, and Qualcomm.