Imagination Technologies puts MIPS and Ensigma up for sale


— 9:00 AM on May 4, 2017

Imagination Technologies is putting its MIPS CPU IP business and Ensigma digital signal processing IP up for sale. In a regulatory update published this morning, the company says it will be committing all of its resources to its PowerVR GPU IP going forward. This narrowing of focus takes place as Imagination prepares for battle with Apple over that company's alleged unauthorized use of PowerVR technology in its proprietary graphics processors.

Imagination says it "has been unable to make satisfactory progress with Apple to date regarding alternative commercial arrangements for the current licence and royalty agreement." In turn, the company says it has begun a dispute resolution process laid out under the two companies' licensing agreement. Imagination maintains that Apple is making "unauthorized use" of its IP as the iPhone maker lays out its own pixel-pushing hardware.

Imagination acquired MIPS Technologies' IP in late 2012 for $60 million, while an ARM-led consortium purchased MIPS' patent portfolio for $350 million. Imagination says the evergreen CPU architecture has recently found a home in embedded applications like Mobileye's collision-avoidance technology, as well as networking and set-top box hardware. It also says its Ensigma business is enjoying "strong licensing activity." The company didn't offer guidance as to the value of those businesses or whether it has any potential buyers lined up.

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