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Transmeta sells off older Crusoe chips

May 31, 2005 — by Henry Kingman — from the LinuxDevices Archive — views

Transmeta will sell its Crusoe line of VLIW (very long instruction word) processors to Culturecom for $15M. The deal also gives the Hong Kong based technology company the right to manufacture and sell the 130nm version of Transmeta's Efficeon design in China.

The deal depends on Transmeta receiving a technology export license from the US Department of Commerce, and “certain other third party consents,” Transmeta says. It also depends on the completion of an engineering services contract between the two companies. The deal is scheduled to close in Q4, 2005.

Transmeta says it will continue to manufacture its Crusoe and 130-nanometer Efficeon products until the transaction closes, and will “complete fulfillment of existing backlog in the subsequent transition period.” Transmeta will continue to support its 90-nanometer Efficeon processors for strategic partners, it says.

Culturecom is perhaps best known for its V-Dragon chip, positioned as a Linux-ready alternative to Windows/Intel for the Chinese low-end PC market. The V-Dragon chip is used in Peking University's famous e-Learner, an ebook reader vaguely reminiscent of the “Young Lady's Illustrated Primer” in Neil Stephenson's novel “Diamond Age.” The e-Learner is used at more than 1,200 schools in Peking.

According to the terms of the deal, Culturecom will pay $15 million in cash up front, as well as ongoing royalties on its of Crusoe and Efficeon products.

Previously, Culturecom licensed Transmeta's Midori Linux for the development of embedded applications and, in conjunction with that license, Transmeta acquired, and continues to own, a minority equity stake in Chinese 2 Linux (Holdings) Limited, an affiliate of Culturecom.

Transmeta said in January it might exit the chip business. The company makes most of its money selling IP (intellectual property) to other chipmakers. For example, it provides its LongRun2 power manager to NEC and Fujitsu.

Transmeta President Arthur L. Swift said, “This engagement helps deliver Transmeta processor technology to the rapidly growing Chinese computing market through Culturecom, an established provider of Chinese-language technology solutions. This relationship is another example of Transmeta's commitment to deploy our innovative technologies through licensing and synergistic engineering services.”

Culturecom Chairman Frank W. T. Cheung said, “This agreement expands Culturecom's ongoing business of providing processors with embedded Chinese language technology. Transmeta's unique x86-compatible processor architecture coupled with Culturecom's Chinese language technology will facilitate the adoption of modern computing technology by mainstream Chinese consumers.”

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