EE Times has some more info on why Apple may have decided to acquire chip maker P.A. Semi:
But now, apparently, Apple sees another opportunity for the P.A.Semi design team and wants a new chip designed. The problem was that P.A. Semi had more or less burnt through its venture capital funds. The only way to get the project funded was for Apple to pay off the other investors and bring P.A. Semi in-house, the source said.
And, of course, due to its triple success in the Mac, the iPod and the iPhone, Apple is now sitting on a pile of cash and $280 million to acquire the design team, its know-how and patents is apparently an acceptable price to pay.
The question remains as to what opportunity Apple sees for the P.A.Semi design team. It is worth pointing out that personal computers (Mac), personal entertainment systems (iPod) and personal communications (iPhone) are in the processing of being merged together to create the Mobile Internet Device (MID) and my best guess is that Apple wants something related to 4G — probably a scalable multimedia application processor — that can handle streams of graphics and video we are all going to be inundated with in a couple of years' time.