Competing in the semiconductor industry is often a game of chess, placing long term bets several moves ahead that culminate for a winning strategy. The announcement of AMD entering into an agreement to acquire adaptive computing powerhouse Xilinx for $35 billion in an all-stock transaction, is a proverbial case study in Silicon Valley power moves. The transaction will be immediately accretive to AMD margins, cashflow and EPS, but what’s more interesting to me is the technology that Xilinx brings to the table, as well as the substantial market impact the combined companies could have.
Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) technology has played a significant role in the semiconductor solutions arena for decades. Years ago, I’d liken the technology to a key lineman on a football team, or perhaps a clutch place kicker. The technology wasn’t as glamorous as big iron processors or high speed