The agreement also enables Applied Micro Circuits, of San Diego, to license the Power architecture, which is the technology that is common in all of IBMs Power processors.
A spokesman for IBM, of Armonk, N.Y., said the deal—expected to close this quarter—illustrates the companys push to grow the Power platform by opening up the architecture, allowing third parties to build custom chips and software based on the technology.
Applied Micro Circuits, which builds chips for networking and storage devices, will acquire three processors within the PowerPC 400 line, though IBM will retain the core technology of the processors as well as some digital video products that also are part of the 400 family.
The company will be able to market the chips in the embedded market. IBM will continue manufacturing the processors for the company.
IBM offers a growing number of Power processors—including the upcoming Power5 chip, as well as the 700 and 970 series—and is looking to extend the reach of the platform by opening up much of the architecture, though keeping tight control over the core technology.
The company is offering a wide range of software and tools designed to enable third parties to build off the architecture, and will create a portal to make it easier for companies to get information about the platform. IBM also will open Power Architecture Centers around the world.