In a widely predicted move loss-making chip company Transmeta is extricating itself from the processor manufacturing business and making a bid to generate sales from licensing its chip technologies instead.
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Since enjoying a fanfare of publicity on launch in 2000, with the backing of Linux inventor Linus Torvalds, the company has lost hundreds of millions of pounds and failed dismally to dislodge Intel and AMD from their leading positions in the chip market.
Transmeta’s so-called unique selling point was the energy-saving properties of its chips, which kept mobile devices working longer. But after Transmeta’s entry into the market, both Intel and AMD brought out their own solutions to deliver the same productivity gains.
As a result, barely any OEMs used Transmeta chips, although Sony has given the company an opportunity by using its chips in notebooks.
Transmeta has now dropped its first chip line to enter the market – Crusoe – as well as one of its Efficeon chips. Only a small number of chips will now be sold to select customers and the company will concentrate on selling its intellectual property.
In addition, Transmeta’s chief executive has been replaced – the company now has its fourth CEO in four years – and around 70 staff will lose their jobs in the restructuring, leaving about 200.