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Cyrix work force to be slashed by more than half

The National Semiconductor division will shed 170 employees and the remaining 160 workers will have to interview to retain their jobs with new owner Via.

More than half the employees at Cyrix will be laid off before new owner Via Technologies acquires it.

Cyrix, the microprocessor division of National Semiconductor, said today that Via has directed that 170 employees will be laid off by the time the division comes under Via's the control. Via will then interview the remaining 160 employees for possible jobs within the company.

Via, a Taiwanese chipset maker that is part of a large industrial consortium, bought Cyrix on June 30 for $167 million as part of a bid to challenge Intel in the market for low-cost PC processors. Earlier this week, the company also bought the processor subdivision of Integrated Device Technologies.

A number of companies have tried unsuccessfully to compete against Intel in this market. National sold Cyrix, for example, because Cyrix had been losing money.

Via, however, brings a number of skills and abilities to the market that could provide for some interesting competition. Via already makes chipsets, a crucial building block for PCs, and is connected with other companies that make motherboards and other PC parts.

With the Cyrix and IDT acquisitions, Via has the ability to build most of the parts needed inside a PC. Intel also is locked in an intellectual property lawsuit in which it accuses Via of breaching a licensing agreement.

The layoffs will occur across various segments at Cyrix, including the Texas operations, a company spokesman said. Approximately 10 percent of Cyrix's employees had voluntarily departed in the wake of the sale, he added.

Although Via will own Cyrix, National will make the actual layoffs, as was agreed to at the time of the sale, said the spokesman.