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Time digital: The World's Most Secretive Start-up

Sep 15, 1999, 23:19 (3 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Lev Grossman)

[ Thanks to Neelakanth for this link. ]

"Playing 20 questions with Transmeta."

"Buzz is king in Silicon Valley, and at this moment in history, nobody has bigger buzz than the Transmeta Corp. That's only natural, because everything about Transmeta is secret. Like many start-ups, Transmeta has no announced products. But unlike those other IPO-seeking missiles, it has never issued a press release. Nor does it have a p.r. department. No one even knows how many people work there. Or what they're working on."

"Naturally, Transmeta, like most high-tech start-ups, has lots of venture capital - upwards of $12 million, in fact. But few of Transmeta's peers can claim funding from Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen, the third richest person in the world. Oh, and Transmeta just happens to employ Linus Torvalds, creator of the Linux operating system and arguably the most famous computer programmer on the Net."

"So what could Transmeta be making to excite such unparalleled interest and talent? We read all we could find on the subject (not much) and talked to everyone we could pin down (not many), including Torvalds; David Ditzel, Transmeta's CEO; and Linley Gwennap, publisher and editorial director of Microprocessor Report. The more we pushed and probed, the more it felt as if we were playing some kind of elaborate Silicon Valley parlor game. Rather than a list of all the tortured permutations, what follows are the best answers we could muster. (We planned 20 Questions, but the government seized five.)"

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