Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
AMD Transmeta Businesses Hardware

AMD Invests $7.5M in Transmeta 82

Posted by Zonk
from the death-ray-for-peaceful-purposes dept.
trouserless writes with the news that AMD has invested heavily in Transmeta. The power-conscious chip company has been financially ailing of late. AMD is taking payment in stock, binding the two companies (both with suits pending against Intel) together. PC World reports: "Transmeta did secure a few licensing deals, notably in Japan, but it also wracked up heavy losses. In January 2005 the vendor announced job cuts and said it would switch its focus to licensing its power management technology to other companies. Later that year Transmeta agreed to sell its Crusoe chips to Hong Kong company Culturecom Technology Ltd. for $15 million in cash. Last year's deal with AMD, to resell Transmeta chips in Microsoft Corp.'s pay-by-installment PC initiative, raised the vendor's prospects again. But in March Transmeta said it faced delisting from the Nasdaq because its stock price fell below $1 for more than 30 consecutive days."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

AMD Invests $7.5M in Transmeta

Comments Filter:
  • And the Transmeta website that had nothing on it sans a "No hidden message here" text buried with in the html.

    *Sigh*
  • not so fast-- (Score:3, Interesting)

    by SolusSD (680489) on Friday July 06, 2007 @05:26PM (#19773353) Homepage
    $7.5 million is nothing-- but Transmeta's stock is also worth close to nothing... this can only help their stock price. Damn! Should have bought.
    • by westlake (615356)
      $7.5 million is nothing-- but Transmeta's stock is also worth close to nothing... this can only help their stock price. Damn! Should have bought.

      "Twice nothing is still nothing,"

      • Yes, but twice $.01 is $.02. Doubling your investment is fun.
      • by cpm80 (899906)
        There's a subtle difference between "close to nothing" and "nothing", e.g.:
        12094 shares of Transmeta stock purchased 06/11/2007 - $3991.02
        Market value of 12094 shares of Transmeta stock on 07/06/2007 - $11368.36
        Watching your 2007 IRA contribution almost triple in less than a month - awesome (*aster*ard lawyers might be reading /.)
    • which seemed to sell the crown jewels off to some obscure company, which then disappears from public view and eventually went into receivership.

      (And it happened to ParkPlace/Digitalk, [They were the originators of SmallTalk] which WAS a company I cared very deeply about. Some shareholders were left holding $17M worth of used toilet paper instead of the valued stock they originally bought. and ObjectShare went onto something else.)

      Fucked up my OOPL(Smalltalk) consulting career but royally.
    • by anarsist (1126773)
      i agree... anarsist http://www.anarsist.org/ [anarsist.org]
  • Makes sense... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by vigmeister (1112659) on Friday July 06, 2007 @05:29PM (#19773395)
    Intel's overwhelming mobile computing dominance probably left AMD with no alternative but to buy their way back into competition. It would be interesting if they expanded their GPU/CPU thing to mobile processors sooner because of this. Anyway, this spices things up for the near future given that Transmeta processors branded as AMD will gain better acceptance in the market in general.

    Cheers!
    • Re:Makes sense... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by jandrese (485) <kensama@vt.edu> on Friday July 06, 2007 @05:43PM (#19773557) Homepage Journal
      They'll still be slow though. Transmeta had an interesting idea with the dynamic recompilation stuff, but it never really panned out. Their chips were light on power consumption, but they were dog slow the first couple of times you ran a program, and then they only crawled up to barely acceptable. Also, Intel did a decent enough job bringing the power consumption down low enough on their Mobile chips that people were in the end willing to accept the shorter battery life for performance.

      Also, it was difficult to even buy a Transmeta equipped laptop because many manufacturers have exclusive licenses with Intel or AMD that prevented them from ever seriously considering Transmeta chips in their laptops. Worse, there is really no practical way for a person to home-build a laptop, and people who build desktops generally want performance over power consumption. The processor market is a tough game to get into. They should feel pretty good for surviving this long.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by ClosedSource (238333)
        "Transmeta had an interesting idea with the dynamic recompilation stuff, but it never really panned out. Their chips were light on power consumption, but they were dog slow the first couple of times you ran a program, and then they only crawled up to barely acceptable."

        The amazing thing to me is that people who were smart enough to make their own processor that can "emulate" another, weren't smart enough to realize that the performance would suck. Perhaps the original founders and investors got rich anyway.
        • by cpm80 (899906)
          I just got back from Frys and couldn't find any CPU's that natively execute x86 instructions. Can you tell me where I can purchase a CPU (manufactured this millennium) that natively executes x86 instructions? I don't want to get one that *emulates* x86 and end up with performance that *sucks*. "Do you think that's air you're breathing now?" -Morpheus
    • by evilviper (135110)

      Intel's overwhelming mobile computing dominance probably left AMD with no alternative but to buy their way back into competition.

      Wow, that's an incredibly stupid thing to say.

      AMD doesn't have the fastest chips anymore, but that's never of interest in the mobile space anyhow. AMD still have the lowest-power mobile chips, which is huge... In fact, that's exactly why Intel has been so dominate there for so long, despite far higher prices, and relatively low performance.

      Intel has a bigger share of the laptop

      • AMD still have the lowest-power mobile chips, which is huge... In fact, that's exactly why Intel has been so dominate there for so long, despite far higher prices, and relatively low performance

        That makes NO sense whatsoever. As the laptop market is constantly growing, anyone with a chip out there is bound to gain market share. But given that AMD is lagging far behind Intel in this field, they probably needed access to some good design cheap and quick to avoid losing focus on Barca. At the end of the day, by buying Transmeta, what are they trying to do but buy their way to competence in the mobile computing market? Why are they doing it? Because they feel it is the best way to compete with Intel.

        • by evilviper (135110)

          But given that AMD is lagging far behind Intel in this field, they probably needed access to some good design cheap and quick to avoid losing focus on Barca.

          AMD doesn't NEED much of anything in this space. Their mobile chips are quite good... Better than Intel at present.

          You on the other hand seem to think that AMD did not need to buy Transmeta and are challenging the company's decision

          There can be millions of reasons AMD would buy Transmeta. You act as if the obvious reason you can think of is the one a

  • When Linus joined Transmeta I was really pleased to hear about what they had to offer wrt. technologies that did powersaving (540MHz at 1W) and flexible architecture emulating with the core architecture based on VLIW.

    Since Intel haven't really gotten off with their own VLIW architecture in Merced, which is really disappointing since it is the natural next step towards "HW is something that can be emulated in SW" where the only thing HW provides basically is calculation at higher speeds. I'm not downplaying
    • speaking of AMD CPUs and Transmeta back in the early AMD64 days, Transmeta's software microcode and on the fly instruction set-to-VLIW recompile (codemorphing) had been put into use to emulate AMD64 so it could be thoroughly tested before the actual chip could be available.

      This helped testing that the 64bit work done for other architecture behaved well for AMD64 and contributed to the fact that AMD64 was supported from the very first day the chip went out of the factory.

      In addition to the ultra-low power co
  • The real news is that Transmeta is still in business. 5 years ago I joined a company that was using Transmeta chips for their primary product. The chips were really slow, even slower than their MHz rating would suggest. We were the only company that I was aware of that were using Transmeta chips at all.
    • by jcgf (688310)
      Yeah, I found the same thing with VIA CPUs.
    • by fm6 (162816)
      I had a Sony micro-laptop with a Transmeta Crusoe CPU. Which also ran darn slow. The tradeoff was supposed to be reduce power consumption, but the thing actually gobbled up power pretty quickly.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by TheRaven64 (641858)
        Their business model failed to take into account the fact that CPUs are not responsible for more than 25% (and usually less than that). If you cut the power consumption of the CPU by 50%, you cut the power consumption of the laptop by 12.5%. Would you pay a premium for 14% more battery life? In practice it was closer to 10%, and sometimes even less.
  • ...SCO got a LOT more money outta Microsoft for a similar stunt...

    (Maybe the semiconductor industry doesn't carry the same amount of chair-throwing passion among its leadership that software does? I'm actually curious now).

    /P

  • by Aqua OS X (458522) on Friday July 06, 2007 @06:02PM (#19773745)
    What's up with merging and investing in all these second tier companies? It's like AMD is trying to form some sort of crappy corporate Voltron.
  • Incorrect assertion (Score:5, Informative)

    by Jacques Chester (151652) on Friday July 06, 2007 @06:17PM (#19773941)
    TFA says Transmeta shot to prominence due to Crusoe. This is wrong; Transmeta shot to prominence because it hired Linus Torvalds and refused to talk about what it was doing.
  • Yes, this should be interesting to watch...I wonder if AMD is spreading itself too thin, but as a low-power and small-form-factor enthusiast I would be very interested in seeing what comes out of this, if anything. I would love a CPU that can power down to single-digits-of-watts in a low-power state.
    • I would love a CPU that can power down to single-digits-of-watts in a low-power state.

      You mean like a VIA C7?

      Sure, we won't have the performance of today's 130 watt monsters in an 8 watt chip for a while, but you can sure get the performance of a slow Pentium IV in only a couple of watts.

  • by suv4x4 (956391) on Friday July 06, 2007 @06:21PM (#19773981)
    Transmeta, the company with some quite amazing chip technology (do you know how it translates microcode on the software level to simplify hardware etc? pretty exciting stuff) was left in the position of a patent troll.

    Investing 7.5 million in Transmetta is called "investing heavily".

    YouTube, a company built on nothing (it's just a damn site for low res flash videos), that didn't make a dollar profit before google bought it, costed 1.8 billion.

    A typical startup investment from a VC is around 3-10 million dollars and that's not "heavily" at all..

    So with numbers that distorted, I know now: we're in a very fragile bubble right now, and when it burst, it'll be ugly. Uglier than before.
    • I am a VC and would like to invest $50 million (FIFTY MILLION US DOLLARS) in your blog, please.
    • by SashaMan (263632)
      That's called capitalism, and has nothing to do with being in a bubble. It doesn't matter how cool your technology is, if people don't want to buy it, your company is worth nothing. Transmeta may have some awesome technology, but in the end their chips were too slow and Intel/AMD did a lot of catch up on the power side. YouTube may be simple technology, but it has millions of viewers and is the #1 destination when people think about video on the web.

      While I don't necessarily disagree that the YouTube price
    • by Guy Harris (3803)

      do you know how it translates microcode on the software level to simplify hardware etc?

      No, I don't. I do, however, know that they had software that ran on the chip that translated x86 machine code (not microcode) to native VLIW code and ran the resulting code.

    • The P/E of the S&P 500 is 21 right now. Bond yields are 5% (a P/E of 20), so the market is a bit over-valued, but I wouldn't call it a "very fragile bubble".
  • AMD Invests $7.5M in Transmeta

    In other news, I invested $20 in the Canadian Cancer Society.

  • Opteron redux (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ghoul (157158) on Friday July 06, 2007 @07:46PM (#19774919)
    The success of the Opteron came out of the DEC Alpha teams AMD hired away from Compaq. Now AMD is going to get the Transmeta innovations. Intel spends gobs of money on internal research to come up with new innovations. AMD being smaller cant spend the same so it is constantly on the prowl for talented researchers working at companies going down the drain and buys up the innovations at bargain basement prices and in this way manages to match Intel in the innovation game. Expect something as big as the Opteron was to come out in 2 years time.
    • Re:Opteron redux (Score:4, Interesting)

      by TheRaven64 (641858) on Friday July 06, 2007 @08:59PM (#19775515) Journal
      Intel got a load of Alpha designers too (and a load of PA-RISC architects, who went to work on Itanium). This situation is different. The Alpha was a great architecture, which was killed by management who bet on Itanium. The people leaving Digital/Compaq/HP were those responsible for a chip that had held the performance crown for about a decade. Transmeta doesn't have anything like the same amount of talent. They had some interesting ideas, but not one chip that could really compete in any area (even the low power usage was more hype than reality).
    • ......Was opteron as big as Megatron?
  • Probably, probably not. Transmeta did show one thing, softcores might viable, and if thats true, chances are we might be buying from either Xilinx or Altera for our processor, and then deciding if we should use a AMD, Intel, or a custom implementation from opencores.org.

    Boy I wish that would happen.
    • If you're doing a soft core then why limit yourself to x86? Just about everybody offers well optimised ARM soft cores - and some are free (ne extra IP costs).

      By the way: THere's a hell of a big difference between a VLIW emulator and a soft core.

      • by imgod2u (812837)
        The main reason x86 is around is the software base. This isn't going to change with softcores. What will happen is that bugs associated with the more obscure/complex parts of x86 that aren't performance critical (and/or not covered by testing) can be fixed after release rather than forcing a recall. Certain features can also be updated for a speed boost. There'll still be dedicated logic (adders, multipliers, etc.) but the routing logic between these macroblocks can be entirely programmable. You'll be
        • Is it just me, or is there indeed a possibility of developing a subscription model for hardware as well as software? Think about it, when you combine the advances in 3D printing, boutique fabrication technologies and the like. You buy the few components that cannot be readily manufactured with your 3D multi-material printer (case, mobo etc) and buy the more complex parts according to some complex licensing model. e.g. you buy the base chip which comes bundled with a design license. That license entitles you
  • I for one... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by CautionaryX (1061226) <nickness@[ ]il.com ['gma' in gap]> on Friday July 06, 2007 @08:32PM (#19775307)
    ...am glad that AMD is investing money in Transmeta. Transmeta had some interesting concepts that if applied correctly (without the x86 emulation) would probably revolutionize processors where mobility and power savings count a lot more than all out performance like pocket PCs and really small laptops. I'd bet that it'll work even better on mobile graphics though. Dedicated video cards suck up battery life like a sponge, if the power consumption on those can be greatly reduced when not running visually intense programs... ah the possibilities.

    And you thought I'd make one of those overlord comments.
  • Wracked up heavy losses? Illiteracy has even struck PC World?
  • I have two Transmeta Crusoe Flybooks [flybook.biz] and they are very slow compared to PM processors of equal GHz. The company and the technology is interesting, but I am afraid the Crusoe processor has failed to deliver any advantages to the customer. Unless Transmeta can build a faster CPU, people won't buy their products. The CPU is not the only component using up power. Why should we invest so much research in energy efficient CPUs while we still use storage with moving parts (HDDs)? Why not invest all of our res

Put your Nose to the Grindstone! -- Amalgamated Plastic Surgeons and Toolmakers, Ltd.

Working...