Re: Giving Away Free Stuff?
No, Intel (Atera) were bundling their own Nios2 32-bit CPU for ages before. With Risc-5 advertising that 32 or 64-bit, free, and a potential of customers for Risc-5, then it's a no-brainer for Intel.
As FPGAs are an expensive way of doing things at scale, I agree. However, FPGAs have their place:
* Cheaper than ASICs for small/medium runs: Medical/Industrial/Aerospace/Test
* Re-configurable: Any prototypes
* Massively parallel: Crypto farms
As for Intel & AMD buying the FPGA companies, both Intel & AMD have incorporated their FPGAs as part of their CPUs - c'mon they don't want to re-spin their CPUs for every exploit they find?!