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Samsung joins IBM, Google in OpenPower alliance

Samsung joins IBM, Google in OpenPower alliance

It is not clear yet if Samsung will license the Power architecture

Samsung has joined the fledgling OpenPower Consortium, an alliance led by IBM to push Power-based chip designs into hardware products such as servers.

The OpenPower Consortium was formed last August after IBM announced it would start licensing its Power architecture to third parties. The goals of the consortium include cooperating on hardware and software development around the Power architecture, which is largely used in high-end servers.

Samsung will join Google, Tyan, Mellanox and Nvidia as members of the alliance. Until now Power-based servers have been released only by IBM, but Tyan is expected to be the first server maker outside IBM to release a Power-based server. Nvidia has also announced it would plug its graphics processors into Power-based systems.

What role Samsung will play in the OpenPower Consortium was not disclosed. Samsung has dabbled with a number of chip architectures including x86 and ARM. The company makes mobile chips called Exynos based on ARM architecture that are used in its smartphones and tablets, and the company is also making ARM-based server chips. Samsung also offers laptops based on x86 chips from Intel and Advanced Micro Devices.

Samsung has dabbled with different hardware technologies and standards in mobile devices and laptops, and usually joins multiple standards organizations.

Last month two Chinese organizations, Suzhou PowerCore Technology Company and the Research Institute of Jiangsu Industrial Technology, also joined the OpenPower Consortium.

The OpenPower Consortium also named Gordon MacKean as the new chairman. MacKean is currently the engineering director of the platforms group at Google.

There have been reports of IBM trying to sell off its semiconductor operations, though the company has declined to comment on the topic. IBM in January agreed to sell its x86 server business to Lenovo for US$2.3 billion.

Agam Shah covers PCs, tablets, servers, chips and semiconductors for IDG News Service. Follow Agam on Twitter at @agamsh. Agam's e-mail address is agam_shah@idg.com

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