Amazon is reportedly looking to bolster its mobile device division by purchasing the smartphone chip division of Texas Instruments.
The online retailer's apparent pursuit of the TI mobile chip division has prompted speculation that Amazon plans to build its own smartphone and compete with Apple's iPhone, according to Reuters. The two companies already compete in the tablet market, with Amazon's Kindle Fire taking on the iPad.
If Amazon were to purchase TI's smartphone chip business, the deal is likely to be worth billions of dollars. The rumored deal is seen as a strategic move that would allow Amazon to better compete with Apple and Samsung, two rivals that already design their own mobile chips for tablets and smartphones.
Amazon already utilizes TI's chips in its Kindle Fire lineup, and Amazon Chief Executive Jeff Bezos also touted the performance of TI's components at a recent media event. And TI has indicated it plans to exit the wireless business in an effort to grow profits.
A potential buyout of TI would be of particular interest to Apple because its chips are found in many of the company's devices, including the new iPhone 5 and the latest iPod touch. TI provides the touchscreen controlling system on a chip for both newly released devices.
Last month, it was also said that Apple was actively courting employees from TI to bolster its own chip development. The A6 processor found in the iPhone 5 is the first custom ARM processor designed entirely in-house by Apple.