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Transmeta

Transmeta To Becomes Fabless Chip Supplier 69

Crazy Diamond writes "Transmeta has bought back its technology licenses from IBM and Toshiba in order to market its products on its own as a fabless chip supplier. This story comes from EETimes for more information."
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Transmeta To Becomes Fabless Chip Supplier

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  • I thought it was some new chip architecture.
  • by cjsnell ( 5825 ) on Tuesday September 05, 2000 @08:36PM (#802882) Journal
    I think Transmeta will make history.

    ..and I don't think it will be because of these chips. I think Transmeta will go down as one of the biggest flops that the Valley has ever seen. They'll probably do an IPO and their employees and founders will cash out and make millions. Once that is complete, they'll string it out for a few more months, drawing their fat paychecks, before the whole mess comes tumbling down. I'm guessing that they will release a product but it will be nowhere near as exciting as we've been anticipating. Performance will be mediocre and their competition will eat Transmeta for breakfast.

    Maybe I'm wrong, maybe we'll all be using Crusoe-based laptops in two years. Somehow, though, I doubt it.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    First a major investor,Toshiba,claims that their chips are more hype than substance then they buy back their technology licenses from IBM and Toshiba?

    No, I think you have this backwards.I seem to recall the buyback being announced in articles serveral weeks ago.

    8/17/00 Transmeta announces IPO [cnet.com]. This article mentions the buy back so I don't know why this is new news. So does the VNUNET article that the spawned the slashdot discussion you linked to.

    The IPO article predates Toshiba article. Perhaps Transmeta's board formally finalized the deal recently, but I suspect it is in their S1 filing.

    So perhaps it sour grapes on Toshiba's part. IBM got cash and the fab business while Toshiba just got shares. They'll probably make money, but they could have made a lot more. This situation resembles when Apple cancelled the Mac cloning effort. That didn't exactly make them any new friends.

  • by cafeman ( 46922 ) on Tuesday September 05, 2000 @08:37PM (#802884) Homepage

    Quoth the poster:

    So Transmeta is buying back it's licenses. This means they have a bucket of cash & would like more control of thier own future.

    It doesn't mean that Toshiba or IBM are dropping them as a supplier - just that they'll be a supplier like any other supplier.
    It doesn't mean Transmeta's technology is any better or worse then it was or seemed to be when IBM & Toshiba bought the licenses awhile ago - it just means that the financial folks at those companies wanted the cash more then the licenses & their supply folks felt comfortable with not having production in-house.
    This doesn't mean that IBM won't continue to build Transmeta's chips in their plants. IBM builds lots of chips for many companies as a simple supplier. IBM has the foundry capacity & the manufacturing technology to build chips for any number of clients & it brings them a good profit.
    This does mean that Transmeta will have more freedom in selecting manufacturers and setting prices & directly controlling production. It doesn't mean that Transmeta won't turn around next year and sell licenses again for either the current set of chips, for a next generation, or for third-party implementations.

    Firstly, I think this does not bode well for Transmeta. The fact that Transmeta was able to buy back their licenses means that neither IBM nor Toshiba sees Transmeta as a good return on investment. If the technology was as impressive as the hype would have you believe, Transmeta would have only been able to get the licenses back from Toshiba and IBM by prying them out of their cold, dead hands. Sure, IBM and Toshiba will likely continue to supply devices using the Transmeta chip ... but considering they're some of the few firms that have actually seen the thing, it's not a good sign that they want to get rid of their licenses.

    I would agree that the technology is no better or worse than when they first bought the licenses. However, I would argue that IBM and Toshiba bought into the hype somewhat too much. While Transmeta may be a great chip, IBM and Toshiba apparently don't see enough return in their investment to prevent them from selling their licenses. Ignoring this is choosing to close your eyes. Transmeta may still be the "killer-app" of chips. But I wouldn't hold your breath.

    This isn't flamebait, it's just my opinion. I could easily be wrong. BUT, I think that on a fundamental level it indicates that the hype overtook the actual product.

    On a different note, it's "Not much effect", not affect ... I can affect your decisions, but my actions will have an effect on you.

  • by eldimo ( 140734 ) on Wednesday September 06, 2000 @05:47AM (#802885)
    pop.com was supposed to be THE entertainment site. It was backed by Steve Spielberg, David Geffen, Imagine Entertainment (Ron Howard) and some other. Infobeat [infobeat.com] announced yesterday that pop.com is closing before it even went public!

    What does that means? It means that without a good business plan and the right people at the right place, even big names does not necesseraly means success.

  • You fundamentally misunderstand the goal of Transmeta. The product's goal is to compete against _Intel_ in mobile _PC_ products. In PDA products like Palm (i.e. where X86 compatibility is not needed) non-X86 products (particularly, Intel's StrongARM) are much better because they use less power, are faster, and are cheaper. Transmeta specifically said that they are NOT competing in this market. Transmeta will only compete where X86 compatibility is needed in lower power devices, and there has yet to be a market for that (aside from laptops, and Transmeta has yet to demonstrate superiority to Intel in that market).
  • Transmeta bought back the rights for 600,000 shares of stock not for Cash. If IBM and Toshiba think that Transmeta is worthless wouldn't the Stock be worthless too? They the should have held out for Cash.
  • To buy stock or not to buy stock. And, if you do, is it for good financial reasons based on industry knowledge, or should it be considered a charitable contribution for a good cause?

  • Wow.... that's really fabless news! ;)

    Ack!


    "How much truth can advertising buy?" - iNsuRge [insurge.com.au] - AK47
  • Excuse me? Their product release was compared to a Pentium III. And 1 watt is far more than the Dragonball uses in the Palm. The simple problem is that Transmeta's chips are currently (and yes, this will likely change, but it's still currently true) too slow for the desktop and too power hungry for the Palmtop.
  • What will a crusoe do that a Palm IIIe can't? Faster searches through my rolodex? yay. that saves a few seconds per day... and how much more power does it use compared to a dragonball or strongarm? What's that? 4 times more? Ermmmm, keep that away from my palmtop!

    Let's compare it to the notebook market? Intels got chips out there now that use a fraction more power than the Crusoe yet sustain much better performance. If we need to wait another 4 months to see systems based on what Transemeta announced 6 months ago, they're going to WAY BEHIND the curve.

    As we can all tell by your web address (which by the way, doesn"t seem to work, go figure), you're not a Linux fanatic, you're a Linus fanatic. Notice the difference? If Linux announced tomorrow that he thought that OS X was the shit and demanded that everone stop developing Linux and buy a Mac with OS X when it arrived, would you be one of them?

    How can you try to convince someone to buy something that doesn't exist as of yet? Do you complain when microsoft releases their vaporware? Yes or no? No? Okay... Yes? Crusoes just as much vaporware as the Win2010.

    Compete with the Palm? Dragonball processors use AT MOST 1/4 the power of Crusoes. Crusoe isn't in that market. And what advantage would you gain out of running Linux or Win 2000 on your palmtop? None...
  • Actually the simpler problem is that the chips aren't on the market yet.

    About my earlier post. I assumed that the only market they could really compete in would have to be as high powered palm top because at the high end you have Intel and AMD in speed wars, in laptops you again have Intel and AMD fighting it out and even Intel is catching up to the low power abilities of the Transmeta products there, therefore my feeling was that palmtops were the place that Transmeta could gain a foothold since that market still has room for more players. After getting a profitable foothold could they move up to laptops and maybe even desktops but they need to get something out there on the market to bring in cash for further developments.
  • They aren't competing with the Palm, they are competing to be in the Palm and other portable devices. Their real competition are the Intel StrongARM and Motorola Dragonball Z chips. if im not mistaken(and im not), the palm runs off a motorola dragonball z, and the draginball seriese and the crusoe are not even nearly in the same market.the dragonball is a 20mhz 16 bit risc chip(pr is it 32 now?), the crusoe is a 128 bit 700 mhz vliw chip, and the crusoe uses about 5 times as much power, the crusoe is intended for laptops, and net appliances, at low power. The drgon ball series is meant for small embeded device, things thta require not to much complexity or performance, but at a low price, and bery low power.
  • Must build orks
    Need Foundry
    Cant build orks until wood is chopped
    Chop wood
    Ork "I'm Here"
    OK build foundry
    Need Gold
    Mine gold
    Need more orks
    "I'm here"

    Too late...The Intel dragon fragged all your Orks

    New game?

  • by Anonymous Coward
    They'll probably do an IPO and their employees and founders will cash out and make millions. Once that is complete, they'll string it out for a few more months,

    Can't happen this way. Typically, there is a six month lockout where the employees/founder cannot cash out. This let's the investment bank's clients clear out first. So that means Transmeta will probably have to file two public reports about their finances before the employees can sell. Rest assured Wall Street will run for the hills if the word on that second report doesn't have any promising to say.

    With the dot coms Wall Street put rationality on hold and ignored that fact that numerous companies have no viable business plan whatsoever. Transmeta not going to get treated that way. For one, they actually make a physical product. :-) It is easier to play the abstract illusion game when all you do is services.

    nowhere near as exciting as we've been anticipating.

    Transmeta certainly is going to have to do a better job of managing expectations once the IPO opens. Right now there is a segment of the population that anticipates the company curing world hunger. :-)

    One problem that Transmeta has is that for their product to truely shine they have to depend upon system implementors to improve other aspects of their design also (e.g., trim down the other power hogs). The second problem would be AMD and Intel will spending more money than Transmeta can raise to keep them out of the market.

    Transmeta notebooks are going to "fast enough" and last a small, but noticably, longer time on battery. In the competitive notebook market that's probably enough to consistant, albeit not overwhelming, number of clients who sell upscale notebooks. The embedded market more open to question.

  • Transmeta now appears to have a similar business model to ARM [arm.com]. They both design processors for the low-power, portable markets, but there are differences: Transmeta's processors are larger and faster, but use more power. ARM's processors are used in devices like mobile phones and organisers where low power consumption is vital, and pure speed is not important.

    ARM have been doing extremely well so far with this business model...

  • First, thanks for correcting my typo (affect/effect) - never post while getting ready for bed.

    Second I'm not a 'fanboy' - rather I'm somebody who tracks this market as part of my job. Torvaldis or not Transmeta has some interesting technology. Commercially successful is still TBD but it is interesting stuff that could have applications beyond their original market.

    Third if you recall (or are aware of) Intel spent years dealing with the results of it's licensing production of it's 80386 chips. They ended up competing with their own licensees for prices and allocations. It was these licenses that allowed many of the clones to convert (against Intel's lawyers and many court battles) to 'licensees' and thus buy legitimacy when they were manufactured by license holders or when their designers bought or were bought by license holders.

    If I was a hot new thing on the block possibly considering another round of investment I'd certainly want the license variable off of the sheets. It's not unlikely that the licenses contained a standard buy-back clause which Transmeta exercised. Furthermore it's telling that the deal was done with Transmeta stock and not their cash.

    Whether Transmeta's chips are 'all-that' we don't know yet. Certainly they have promise for competing in the mobile-marketplace with Intel. Whether the big boys are just backing them to keep pressure on Intel in the market or they're seen as a truly viable isn't clear. It's possible that they're both a pressure tactic and a potential breakthrough - a two-fer in the eyes of IBM, Toshiba & others. Either way it's too soon to bury them.

    Right now Transmeta probably has another year in which to make some success with their original plan. If they don't succeed look for them to retarget to some less obvious/less immediately profitable market. I'd bet they've already got a team working on developing some legacy-emulation for aging big iron (something that would certainly pique IBM's interest.)

    Any which way - they've got some interesting Intellectual Property and make for a good story.

  • I claimed this from the beginning, yet somehow I got moderated as "troll" or the like. This shit seemed entirely too good to be true, but what do I know? Apparently how to lose karma...

    - Bill
  • Last month, intel released (not just demoed) thier new low-power P3's... They use 1-2 watts on average, which is a HUGE improvement over their previous mobile chips. I've submitted it to Slashdot but lo and behold, I was rejected...

    2000-06-20 14:23:36 Intel releasing low power chips! (articles,intel) (rejected)
  • "The fact that Transmeta was able to buy back their licenses means that neither IBM nor Toshiba sees Transmeta as a good return on investment. If the technology was as impressive as the hype would have you believe, Transmeta would have only been able to get the licenses back from Toshiba and IBM by prying them out of their cold, dead hands."

    Perhaps. Or it could mean that Transmeta included a buy-back opion in the original agreement, (perhaps with a fixed buyback price), and Transmeta has elected to use the option.

    It is intirely possible (and likely) that all three companies are exlicitly not allowed to make any sort of public statement about the license agreements.

    You are welcome to speculate, but I find fault with your logic, and I'd like to point out that your conclusion is not supported.

  • When the hell are we gonna actually see a chip that we can buy and put to use? ARGARGARG
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Transmeta is an anagram for STEAM RANT.
  • so is this fabuless [sic] news? ;)

    -----
    If Bill Gates had a nickel for every time Windows crashed...
  • It sounded so good. . .But by the time they get this chip out, if they ever do, it will be so far behind my dishwasher (which will doubtless be computerized, wired, online, and spanking that baked-on grease digitally by then) will be faster.

    Hear me oh Linus! Deliver [to] us!


  • Who cares.

    As much as I want to believe that chip is the greatest thing since Cap'n Crunch, it's still vapourware - I'll believe it when I see it.

    ~dlb
  • by pb ( 1020 )
    I remember Toshiba was feeling wishy-washy about the whole thing before, but IBM? Oh well.

    I hope this doesn't set them back too much, because I want to see these things in action!
    ---
    pb Reply or e-mail; don't vaguely moderate [ncsu.edu].
  • by SquadBoy ( 167263 ) on Tuesday September 05, 2000 @07:17PM (#802908) Homepage Journal
    is going to do some very cool things. The simple fact is in the market that Transmeta is trying to get into people are *really* excited over a processer with less than a 386 in it (think palm). I was telling my boss today about some of the things this chip would allow. He was ready to order. It is not supposed to compete with the P-4 or whatever. It is competing with the Palm and it can win this. Why? Because it is the only solution really portable, long battery life, and can give me a real OS. This is important stuff.
  • Lot of coverage that Transmeta is getting seems to be solely due to the fact that Linus is employed there. That certainly seems to be the case here at Slashdot.

    Founder's Camp [founderscamp.com]

  • by fudboy ( 199618 ) on Tuesday September 05, 2000 @07:20PM (#802910) Homepage Journal

    heard in the Transmeta boardroom:

    "today is a good day to die!"

    :)Fudboy
  • "But its competitors are two massively-resourced chip giants - Intel and AMD."

    ... and this is only a good sign, them putting AMD on equal grounds :-) :-) :-)

    -----
  • by Carnage4Life ( 106069 ) on Tuesday September 05, 2000 @07:21PM (#802912) Homepage Journal
    From the article:
    Microprocessor startup Transmeta Inc. (Santa Clara, Calif.) has quietly changed its business plan. The company has bought back its two main technology-licensing agreements from IBM Corp. and Toshiba Corp., and now plans to market products on its own as a fabless chip supplier

    First a major investor,Toshiba,claims that their chips are more hype than substance [slashdot.org] then they buy back their technology licenses from IBM and Toshiba?

    Looks to me like Transmeta jumped the gun on their speculative announcements and have realized they cannot put their money where their mouth is. Unfortunately since this is Slashdot and Linus works there, its likely that this post will get moderated down and even though people here slaughter Intel when it comes to bad news, this will be glossed over. *sigh*


    (-1 Troll)
  • What if a news story aired about a chip company only Hemos cares about... and no one else cared.

    Echo echo echo...

  • Now why are Toshiba and IBM willing to sell that licence back to Transmeta? The amount coudn't be that much because the company doesn't exactly look overrun with cash (indeed, about -$127M, if I remember that other /. article).
  • After seeing Toshiba laying down for Rambus and the floppy drive lawsuit, I'd be wary of having my company's fortune rely on their guts. Much the same with IBM. It might not be a bad idea for Transmeta to strike out on their own. The company I work for has done both sides of the silicon foundry deals, and while it has major pains, the old business model had a lower upside potential. To build their own fab would take a bunch of capital, and there is a bit of stray capacity around the world.

    I'm not downplaying the debt, but in a way, selling the old licences and buying them back was an interesting way to get early capital. Now, at least, they get to live or die on their own marketing/design skills. I wish them luck.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Ya, I wanna buy a Transmeta powered portable that will last all day on batteries, but I smell trouble.
    • The first impression is that Transmeta is being greedy and their shit is so hot that they've got to reneg on deals so they can make more bucks on the IPO.
    • Second impression is that they wanted a branding campaign and IBM and Toshiba showed through lack of action that they were'nt interested.
    • Third impression is that Transmeta is damn stupid because fab space is not easy to come by. They are shooting themselves in the foot.

    Now since these guys aren't stupid, something else is up and I haven't a clue. Why haven't we seen a product yet? How sub-par is the performance going to be?
    Am I reading too much into this press release?
    • Firstly, I think this does not bode well for Transmeta.

    I don't think it bodes well for Transmeta, either. I don't see why you wouldn't want big partners like IBM and Toshiba if you are Transmeta. Unless, neither IBM nor Toshiba are not interested in bringing products forward using the Transmeta technology, which we have some reason to believe because of the recent Toshiba criticism [slashdot.org] of the Transmeta chip set.

    • Transmeta would have only been able to get the licenses back from Toshiba and IBM by prying them out of their cold, dead hands.

    Now, this is a leap. We don't know that there wasn't a favorable buy-back clause in the licensing agreements that Transmeta signed with those guys.


    -Jordan Henderson

  • I don't know how good this move is really for Transmeta, but it can at best be good for the consumer or at worst not effect the consumer at all. This way, TM will make it or break it through the merits of their own technology and they will be forced to put out a hell of a good chip and do a helluva good job marketing it otherwise nobody is going to help "push" their product.

    One of my favorite examples when this doesn't happen is Rambus RDRAM.. if it wasn't for Intel trying to shove the technology down our throats RDRAM probably won't have even made it off the drawing board. All this time Intel could have been pushing for better technology (ie. DDR-SDRAM) instead of covering their asses (not to mention loosing God knows how much money with their faulty RDRAM motherboards).

    Toshiba decided to complain about how Crusoe was not "all 'dat" so TM buys the rights back from them... now if we see a Crusoe inside of a Toshiba notebook we'll know that Crusoe is not all hype.

    I've read as well that some of you think that Crusoe is all hype and is total vaporware... i would really like to think that the talented engineers (yes there are many other talanted engineers working for TM besides Linus) that have been working on Crusoe for 5 years + actually have technology that works. Many of them left jobs at other large companies to work at TM because they were excited about what they had the potential to produce. I'm sure many OSS developers here know what it is like to be excited about their product... you would not produce shitty stuff and be excited about it. If even the other engineers were not excited about their work, i'm sure that Linus would not work for TM if he didn't think he had something cool to show. Of course he could just be in it for the money, or to pay the bills, or just to stay in the US. However, Linus doesn't exactely strike me as a money grubbing freeloader if you know what i mean. I'm sure there are more than a few companies that would pay him a rediculous amount of money for his skillz and his name.

    Anyway, i'm willing to give TM the benefit of the doubt and not come to conclusions until there are more than a few reviews saying that Crusoe really does bite. I believe in "innocent until proven guilty" and i also believe in "good tech until proven shitty".

    Ceres

  • by mnf999 ( 137795 )
    so linux works there and so what?

    boring...

  • Dude there's a +50 karma cap.

    Really? Mine is still in 3 figures. That said, it's been dropping by 1 point every so often, even though I'm still getting moderated up. I'm guessing that Rob's introduced some kind of slippery slope for those with high karma, so they drop back to lower levels unless consistently posting high rated comments. Personally, I think it'd be better to just have a maximum karma of, say, 10 points over the +2 bonus level. As it stands now, once you've got a high enough karma (not that hard to attain, with a bit of whoring), you can abuse the system pretty much all you want, and still retain your posting bonus.

  • The fact that Transmeta was able to buy back their licenses means that neither IBM nor Toshiba sees Transmeta as a good return on investment.

    Or simply that the original license agreement contained a buy back clause, saying something like:

    Transmeta reserves the right to buy back this license at any time for the original purchase price plus a 10% premium

    Toshiba and IBM might not have had a choice...

    • It does mean that there are apparently a few Slashdotters left willing to whistle by the graveyard and insist that all is right with this sinking ship. How quaint. :)

    Sorry to all the fanboys, but your little golden boy Linus has officially been tarnished. Time to give up on this dog of a processor (everyone knows that you would have long ago if not for a certain kernel hacker working there) and beg Linus to come back to working on Linux full-time. Anyone who remembers all the tough talk back in January that the 2.4 kernel would be released before Win2K just might be wondering if Linus's moonlighting has anything to do with the fact that 2.4 still isn't here yet. Tick, tock...


    Cheers,

  • Yeah, but Transmeta isn't suing everyone in sight.

  • Need I remind anyone that the Apple Newton was using StrongARM five years ago?

    Foo. Anyway, it's not like that trounced anyone in the marketplace... bringing us to the truth that architectore doesn't matter. Palm could be using PICs and they'd still have marketing clout. :-P

    (not that I have anything against PICs...)



  • * For your eyes only *

    Atemsnart [tm] had just announced that
    it would become a Chipless Fab.

    End of announcement.

    * Please Destroy This At Once After Reading *

  • The code morphing is still not complete. As soon as the code morphing is mature, you will. This is according to Compaq.
  • by austad ( 22163 ) on Tuesday September 05, 2000 @07:22PM (#802927) Homepage
    They planned this from day one...

    guy one: "how are we gonna get funding and access to test and design facilities?"
    guy two: "Let's make our technology look really sweet and we'll license it out to some major corporations, including one or two with chip design and testing facilities. Then, after we get what we need out of them, we'll just try to buy back our rights with some stock from when we IPO and a relatively small cash payment compared to what we'll make on the IPO."
    guy one: "Sweet, let's get drunk."


    Transmeta's has had everything look very well thought out up until now, I fail to see how they would have just now "changed their minds". They're doing alot of very risky things, but it seems like it's been well planned since day one.

  • I think it's interesting to hear the things that Transmeta is up to. I'm all in favor of thom and their efforts, and I hope to see some product from them soon....

    yay Transmeta...
  • Looks to me like Transmeta jumped the gun on their speculative announcements and have realized they cannot put their money where their mouth is. Unfortunately since this is Slashdot and Linus works there, its likely that this post will get moderated down and even though people here slaughter Intel when it comes to bad news, this will be glossed over. *sigh*

    If I am a moderator now, I would moderate your post down simply because you're exploiting reverse-psychology by whining about how this post will be moderated down.

    since you don't attend Transmeta board meetings, I'm sure they know a lot of things that you don't know...

  • Dude there's a +50 karma cap. What the heck do I care about whether my posted is moderated up or down?

    since you don't attend Transmeta board meetings, I'm sure they know a lot of things that you don't know...

    So this means I cannot make observations based on the evidence that is available for all to see?


    (-1 Troll)
  • Me like transmeta just like slashdot do. me always know that transmeta was absolutely fabless, now the people, they tell me it has been proofed!

    sig:

  • Being fabless certainly didn't hurt Nvidia or 3dfx (back when 3dfx still just made chips). I know that they are in the video market, but those companies made good and highly competitive products. If the final chip is as half as good as transmeta is leading on (at this point believing their hype is an exercise in futility) they have a shot. But going this way is risky as hell. If they are the best, then there will be plenty of money to buy fabrication and all will be well. If not, they are going to be gone so quick that it will make your head spin. That being said, yes right now its alot of "Linus works there, it must be good" hype going on. Call me when they have a product.
  • someone please define 'fabless'.
  • by maggard ( 5579 ) <michael@michaelmaggard.com> on Tuesday September 05, 2000 @08:04PM (#802934) Homepage Journal
    So Transmeta is buying back it's licenses. This means they have a bucket of cash & would like more control of thier own future.

    • It doesn't mean that Toshiba or IBM are dropping them as a supplier - just that they'll be a supplier like any other supplier.
    • It doesn't mean Transmeta's technology is any better or worse then it was or seemed to be when IBM & Toshiba bought the licenses awhile ago - it just means that the financial folks at those companies wanted the cash more then the licenses & their supply folks felt comfortable with not having production in-house.
    • This doesn't mean that IBM won't continue to build Transmeta's chips in their plants. IBM builds lots of chips for many companies as a simple supplier. IBM has the foundry capacity & the manufacturing technology to build chips for any number of clients & it brings them a good profit.
    • This does mean that Transmeta will have more freedom in selecting manufacturers and setting prices & directly controlling production.
    • It doesn't mean that Transmeta won't turn around next year and sell licenses again for either the current set of chips, for a next generation, or for third-party implementations.

    Frankly this seems more like "News for Finance Nerds" then anything directly technology related.

  • Transmeta will be. Just like Rambus.

    Oh wait, we all hate Rambus. Isn't this interesting. All those articles that explain Rambus is evil because it has no fabs which causes xyz to happen. Does that apply to Transmeta?


    ---
  • fab-less: they have no factory

    //rdj
  • There are two ways to look at this:
    • Transmeta thinks its technology is so great that it wants exclusive rights to it.
    • Transmeta's customers think its technology sucks and weren't interested in manufacturing it.
    Personally, I suspect #2. Especially since Transmeta, which has been big on PR, didn't announce this; they just put it in a mandatory filing with the SEC.

    I have the feeling that Transmeta's technology is going to go down as one of those things that can be done, but isn't worth the trouble. The AMD Athlon already converts instructions to a RISC-like uniform width at cache load time, so the most touted Transmeta feature is already shipping in volume from someone else.

  • .. the rest of the /. publicity comes from the incident that Transmeta had a hard time getting the chip to run LoseDoze's mixed 16/32-bit code, though it had worked with x86 unices well.

    Hence, it is irrelevant what Crusoe does in practice, with the 'code morphing,' optimizations and stuff. Maybe /. is not about technology at all. And what was Col. 2.2.17 news for anyway?

    --

  • Amiga IS the real vaporware for non-wintel enthusiasts. How dare you compare the Amiga vapor to the Transmeta one? The living dead will return!!!
  • Intels got chips out there now that use a fraction more power than the Crusoe yet sustain much better performance.

    Huh? Is there a Pentium III that I don't know about? The Crusoe was said to consume a watt or so at full power. I keep hearing about complaints that the CPUs on current laptops are having huge heat problems at the CPU, and that sounds like an order of magnitude more than 1 watt.
  • That's what "fabless" means :)
  • Now why are Toshiba and IBM willing to sell that licence back to Transmeta? The amount coudn't be that much because the company doesn't exactly look overrun with cash (indeed, about -$127M, if I remember that other /. article).
    We don't know that they were willing to sell their license back. Perhaps it was part of the original contractual agreement. All we really know is that to date the only tangible goods that Transmeta has produced have been hats/shirts/pens for trade-shows.

    Their processor could end up being the greatest thing in the last 20 years, or it could be an also-ran. However, at the very least, it's caused the Tortoise (Intel) and the Hare (AMD) to take notice.
  • It's sort of comical that this is news... I mean, jeez... who cares. Let see some iron, Transmeta!

    It's also comical that crafty 'marchitecture', which is normally dismissed when Intel and Microsoft (or Apple for that matter)iliicit it, is lauded by the /. crowd when its spewed forth by Transmeta's marketing machine.

    Anyway, the simple fact is that if TM had a great story to tell, we'd be hearing all about how great their silicon PERFORMANCE is. But that's not what hearing, and we never will. As much as I hate to say it, I think Intel's implementation(s) of StrongARM are going to TROUNCE Transmeta in the marketplace.... It's a better (and already proven) microarhcitecture.

    There's a GOOD reason why Palm is moving to StrongARM and Compaq's iPaq already uses it.

    I can just imagine the next Slashdot Transmeta headline:

    "Linus breathes on Transmeta hardware prototype, world swoons..."

    -t
  • by jjr ( 6873 ) on Tuesday September 05, 2000 @08:08PM (#802944) Homepage
    Transmeta's biggest assets are Linus and Paul. Just on the name value alone Transmeta as a good chance of making it work.
  • Well, if you read further IBM will remain as the foundry. Which means IBM will still provide the fabrication facility. While Transmeta won't have its own fab, it still has fabrication capacity lined up
  • They aren't competing with the Palm, they are competing to be in the Palm and other portable devices. Their real competition are the Intel StrongARM and Motorola Dragonball Z chips which continue to gain market share while we wait for Transmeta's product to arrive.
  • >Frankly this seems more like "News for Finance Nerds" then anything directly technology related.

    "News for Finance Nerds".. Isn't that redundant?

    Just kidding, "News for Computer Nerds" is more redundant (if thats possible)..

    Geoff
  • Currently there is a fab shortage for high-end and some lower-end chips. IBM probably has the leading edge technology for making chips. Rumor has it that IBM will be the first to sell a Transmeta based laptop; mobo made in Taiwan, IIRC. IBM has the know-how; don't make comments about the G3/G4 cpu problems; that is a licencing/piss-contest within AIM. Overseas chip manufacturers (for instance in Taiwan) would have to enter into the equation. But they are too busy making Rambus patented memory (cheap shot).

    Looks like shit. Smells like shit. Taste like shit. Hmmm, let's go eat. (with apologies to Cheech and Chong).

    You are right. Something doesn't make sense. Then again, this is Transmeta. Perhaps they fear Big Blue? Maybe they don't need state of the art fab production to produce a lot of chips (like memory). Perhaps a major VC such Paul Allen just won the lottery. It could be Janet Reno's fault. Maybe, Linus just got voted off the island. Finally, Transmeta wants to become the Rambus and just want to survive off of patents.

  • Dude there's a +50 karma cap. What the heck do I care about whether my posted is moderated up or down?

    Karma aside, getting moderated up is a "pat in a back" by moderators for some people. Even so, (I'm not calling you a karma whore), why did you expect to get out of whining about *predicting* people will moderate you down?

    So this means I cannot make observations based on the evidence that is available for all to see?

    Heck, you can make observations based on NO evidence if you want. Just that your observation based on the facts accessible by you thus far about Transmeta probably can't be treated seriously...

"Your stupidity, Allen, is simply not up to par." -- Dave Mack (mack@inco.UUCP) "Yours is." -- Allen Gwinn (allen@sulaco.sigma.com), in alt.flame

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