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IT-Director: IBM, Transmeta and the IPO torpedo

Nov 06, 2000, 14:53 (2 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Gryphon)

"Today Transmeta, the notebook semi-conductor specialist, is set to IPO. ... Their IPO timing is good. The vast, nervously turning shoal of sprats that is Nasdaq has, on the basis of a recent report by the SIA (Silicon Industry Association), has decided that semi-conductors are up and profitable. Transmeta's Crusoe has maintained a high profile since launch and is set to sail to market in an armada of notebooks from Sony, NEC, Fujitsu and Compaq."

"There is, of course, a glaring exception to this list. Last week, the flagship vendor of the fleet, IBM, ditched its plans to include Crusoe within its Thinkpad notebook range, despite the fact that IBM Microelectronics fabs currently produce all Crusoe silicon. The announcement was greeted with a blizzard of speculation within the industry."

"The news coincided with the first published benchmark scores from systems built around Crusoe. These were, at first glance, poor - the standard industry benchmarks showed Crusoe failed to deliver much more battery life and performance than a standard mobile Pentium. On analysis, this isn't surprising as the benchmarks are designed for a single platform and simply record the time it takes for a battery to drain when supporting a system running flat-out. They don't take into account how the Crusoe instruction set exists in software and dynamically adjusts voltage levels for the task in hand to increase battery life. Until a benchmark is developed that can record this procedure, vendors using Transmeta will have to rely on long term lease of production kit to help reviewers become confident enough that the silicon delivers what it promises."

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