Amazon already thoroughly controls the software ecosystem that flows through its Kindle Fire tablets, but a new report suggests that the company is working to expand that iron grip on the hardware side. Israel’s Calcalist newspaper claims the e-tailer is in “advanced negotiations” to buy Texas Instruments smartphone and tablet OMAP processor business for several billion dollars.
If true, Apple would join the Samsung and Apple in building its tablets with homegrown processors. The move would also lead to an awkward decision for Amazon competitor Barnes & Noble, which users Texas Instruments processors in its Nook tablets. TI’s chips would also come in handy for Amazon’s rumored phone.
The rumor doesn’t come completely out of the blue: Texas Instruments has had a difficult time meeting its desired profit margins in an increasingly cut-throat mobile processing market that includes multiple 800 pound gorillas, including Nvidia, Samsung, Intel, AMD, and Qualcomm. Last month, Texas Instruments told investors that it plans to shift away from the mobile processor market to focus instead on embedded systems for the automotive, robotic, and industrial industries, among others.
The company said as much when TechCrunch asked for clarification about the Amazon rumor. Texas Instruments prefaced its comments by saying that it doesn’t comment on market rumors, but went on to add this interesting tidbit:
As communicated in a recent investor event, the Smartphone market has become a less attractive long-term opportunity for TI’s OMAP and Connectivity products, and we are re-profiling our investment accordingly.
That’s miles away from a flat denial.