Amazon is now in the microprocessor market, and is gearing up to challenge Intel in the lucrative data-centre infrastructure market. It isn’t exactly Amazon itself that will be producing the chips; rather it is Annapurna Labs, which happens to be a wholly owned subsidiary of Amazon.com.
The line of Annapurna chips are set to be sold under the Alpine brand, and are built on the ARM architecture. These are designed to handle Wi-Fi, stream video, run data centers, or be embedded in small, low-cost Internet of Things devices. There’s no mention of using them in smartphones, although the irony is that Amazon stopped making the Firephone a few months ago.
Alpine based home gateways, Wi-Fi routers, and NAS products are currently already available from OEMs, and the company is also selling a hardware development kit to allow customers to modify the chips for their own uses.
At the moment, it doesn’t look like Annapurna is directly going head-to-head with Intel; who currently dominate 99% of the data-centre market. The Alpine chips are instead targeted at low powered servers and storage devices that exist to support data-centres. Still, it is conceivable that Amazon would be end up using its own processors to power its massive e-commerce business.