Imagination, supplier of Apple chip tech, to buy MIPS
Imagination, a leading supplier of graphics chips for smartphones and tablets, will buy MIPS Technologies.
Brooke CrothersFormer CNET contributor
Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.
Imagination, a key supplier of Apple chip technology, will buy MIPS, one of the oldest names in the silicon business.
U.K.-based Imagination Technologies, a major supplier of graphics chips, will buy the operating business of
MIPS Technologies, a vendor of power-efficient chips used in routers, set-top boxes, and game machines.
With the deal, valued at $60 million, Imagination will get 82 "key" patents that are "directly relevant to the MIPS architecture" and comprehensive license rights to all of the remaining 498 MIPS' patents, for a total of 580 patents.
Imagination, known primarily as a graphics processing unit (GPU) supplier, will gain access to MIPS central processing unit (CPU) technology, allowing it to take on ARM, the world leader in smartphone CPUs.
"MIPS is the company that pioneered the RISC CPU architecture," Imagination CEO Hossein Yassaie said in a statement. "I believe that the combination of our existing...CPU technologies...with MIPS' capabilities will help us to create a new force to be reckoned with in the CPU IP market," he added.
MIPS is one of the most venerable names in the chip industry, and its silicon has been used in the Sony PlayStation Portable series, Windows CE devices, TV set-top boxes from Motorola, and network routers from Cisco.
Microsoft's Windows NT, released in 1993, was originally designed to run on MIPS processors, as well as other chip architectures.
Approximately 700 million chips based on MIPS technology were shipped worldwide in the fiscal year that ended in June. That generated about $60 million in revenue, resulting in a loss of about $9 million for the company.