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Transmeta Technology

Where is Transmeta Heading? 192

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the change-of-plans dept.
Autoversicherung writes "Transmeta, once the darling of Silicon Valley, employer of Linus Torvalds and heralded as the new Intel is facing bleak times. Having $53.7 million in cash and short-term investments in its coffers, enough for just under two quarter's worth of operations and a reported net loss of $28.1 million and revenues of $11.2 million for the fourth quarter of 2004 the company's future is everything but certain. Will the planned restructuring to a pure IP company help?"
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Where is Transmeta Heading?

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  • Linus left (Score:5, Informative)

    by morcheeba (260908) on Saturday April 02, 2005 @12:06PM (#12120243) Journal
    Linus left Transmeta in mid-2003 [theregister.co.uk] and now works at the Open Source Development Labs. [osdl.org] Here is ESR's unofficial Linux FAQ [catb.org]
  • Re:Willies (Score:5, Informative)

    by Will Fisher (731585) on Saturday April 02, 2005 @12:10PM (#12120264)
    ARM is a strictly IP company and is very successful. Its processors are used in many, many embedded applications. Eg, most cellphones, the gameboy DS, the iPod, hard disk microcontrollers, microcontrollers in cars, PDAs, etc etc. They recieved royalties for over 1 billion units last year. ARM cores are everywhere.

    The difference is that ARM has always been an IP only company, ever since it was spun out of Acorn computers.
  • by nagora (177841) on Saturday April 02, 2005 @12:18PM (#12120299)
    What is the law now, that a person with a patent gets to enjoy the benifits of that patent for life?

    No, that's copyright. Patents vary slightly around the world but 20 years seems to be the norm.

    Do we really want only one company making medicines for a specific disease because they patented a gene sequence?

    No, which is indeed one of many reasons the USPO should be shot for allowing things it was never meant to allow, including discoveries instead of inventions.

    TWW

  • Forgot to mention (Score:5, Informative)

    by mocm (141920) * on Saturday April 02, 2005 @12:35PM (#12120365) Homepage
    that transmeta is reducing its workforce (mostly marketing people) and has a contract with Sony who will pay for the help of 100 of the about 200 people working for transmeta. This will reduce quarterly costs to 5 million and increase transmetas life expectancy. They also stated that they will help Sony to put longrun2 into Cell derivatives and also have Fujitsu and NEC as longrun2 customers. They stop producing Crusoe and 130nm Efficeons, but will continue to supply customers as long as demand and inventory permits. They plan on producing 90nm Efficeons for select customers(?? probably Fujitsu).
  • by teknomage1 (854522) on Saturday April 02, 2005 @12:49PM (#12120421) Homepage
    It wasn't a problem with the chip but with the device manufacturers. Batteries are expensive, so they grabbed the transmeta chip, then cut costs on the batteries. The result is no real difference tot he end user except maybe weight or form factor.
  • by servognome (738846) on Saturday April 02, 2005 @01:09PM (#12120485)
    The first IP company I come up with, Rambus, is not the public enemy you are trying to turn those,
    Rambus is a bad example, they tried to extort other RAM manufacturturers because they steered standards committees towards using technology they were patenting. As others have mentioned ARM is a good example. If you look at companies like nVidia, they are also very heavy on the IP side, as most of the work they do is designing GPU, the manufacturing is done by silicon foundaries.
  • Re:L.T. (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 02, 2005 @01:30PM (#12120573)
    x86 processors have been translating x86 instructions into different internal formats--with limited reprogrammability in the form of microcode--since the Pentium Pro.

    It wasn't the promise of translating complex x86 instructions into simpler instructions that could be executed quickly and with low power consumption that was the big deal, it was the never-materialized promise that Transmeta chips would be able to run programs for multiple platforms at the same time with high performance. Specifically the hype of the day was that one would be able to run Windows and MacOS software concurrently without dealing with the performance penalty of software emulators.

    The only thing Transmeta actually delivered on was lower power consumption then other x86 processors. Their processors were slow, they never translated anything except x86 instructions, and their cost was unreasonable. Intel and AMD merely revamped their mobile processor lines, and now the Pentium M is king of the hill. They never offered any competition to ARM for the embedded market.
  • Re:Willies (Score:3, Informative)

    by T-Ranger (10520) <jeffw@@@chebucto...ns...ca> on Saturday April 02, 2005 @01:47PM (#12120641) Homepage
    As is Dolby Labs. I think that MIPS still makes some chips, but they are mainly IP too.
  • by xtal (49134) on Saturday April 02, 2005 @06:37PM (#12122500)
    ARM completely owns this industry. Their IP is everywhere. They're in gameboys, they're in PDAs, they're in network applicances. Low power consumption, cheap price, great toolchains, and wide support.

    The embedded tree is something like this:

    PLD (22V10 devices)

    Low power MCU (Atmel AVR, Microchip PIC)

    Mid-range (8051; Upstart Rabbitcore; Motorola CPUS)

    High range (ARM baby, Nat Semi's Geode is in here too)

    From there you move into things like the motorola G4 architecture, via's C3, intels pentium M, etc.

    Transmeta's advantages to risk are questionable, from this engineer's perspective, and yes, I actually HAVE used transmeta's hardware. It was too expensive relative to a Geode processor).
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 02, 2005 @10:06PM (#12123805)
    Answer: Death.

    I advise all shareholders to divest themselves of
    Transmeta stock holdings.

    For the majority of those still holding Transmeta stock,
    this sell will mean a loss.

    However, to hold Transmeta stock until delisting and
    foreclosure, will mean an even bigger loss.

    Toodles

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