Apple buys another chipmaker

The iPhone maker has picked up Passif Semiconductor, a small California company that makes low-power communications chips.

James Martin/CNET

Apple has acquired another chipmaker.

The iPhone, iPad, and Mac maker recently bought Passif Semiconductor, reports blogger Jessica Lessin. The Oakland, Calif.-based company makes low-power wireless hardware, as well as networking software.

Apple picked it up "in recent months," Lessin reports, though it's unclear for how much.

Apple did not comment on the acquisition, beyond noting it "buys small technology companies from time to time."

The chipmaker is the latest to be acquired by the tech giant. It purchased Intrinsity in early 2010, as well as P.A. Semi, in 2008. Those acquisitions have been notable given Apple's increased interest in creating its own custom processors for its portable devices. This latest purchase suggests Apple could be expanding that into wireless and communication technologies -- things for which Apple has relied on companies like Qualcomm and Broadcom.

Earlier this year, Apple CEO Tim Cook noted that Apple has been buying a company every month or two. It recently snapped up two mapping/location companies: HopStop and Locationary, presumably to bolster its own mapping software, which had a rough launch last year.

"We are always looking, and if anything, we will do more of that in the future," Cook said at the All Things Digital Conference in May.

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