re: I always wondered
Indeed yes. PA Semi was a PPC shop, pretty good one too. They got bought by Apple, who promptly killed the PA PPC product line.
Uncle Sam apparently had to have a quiet word in Apple's ear saying that they'd better continue what had already been marketed, or else.
It only ever seemed to make any sense to Apple if they were deciding to jump back to PPC (the chips would have made tremendous sense in a laptop). They haven't, so it looks like the PA Semi buy has been a complete cockup. Apple must have lost $Lots on that deal, and the PA Semi people are probably sniggering all the way to their banks, grateful for Apple's naivety.
As Popup says it seems that the PA semi people are turning up in Agnilux. What's the betting that they spawn some new PowerPC based chip? The military emebedded systems processor niche is wide open at the moment with Freescale not putting an FPU/Altivec in their latest, and Intel not quite being a completely obvious choice just yet. Agnilux may develop a slightly better PPC than Freescale currently have. If so then the military embedded systems market will probably flock gratefully to their door, pleased to not have to re-target to Intel. That was what was starting to happen just as Apple bought PA Semi. Here's to hoping that it doesn't happen again...
Thing is, as I understand it quite a lot of the PA Semi people actually started out in DEC, doing the Alpha et al. They must be getting slightly aged now, so I wonder how many of them are actually contemplating a well earnt retirement?
FAIL, because a fool and its money will soon be parted.