It wasn't so long ago that Transmeta appeared to be headed for the dustbin; the company's announcement earlier this year that it would cease independent chip design and focus on patent licensing was generally seen as an effective death knell for the company. As SiliconValley reports, however, moving away from physical CPU design and focusing on patent work seems to have paid off for Transmeta. In its past two fiscal quarters, Transmeta has posted profits of around $17 million and has become profitable for the first time in its history.
Just as the original Crusoe was announced as notebook power consumption began to take center stage, Transmeta's engineers and the company's power-minimizing patent portfolio appear to be in the right place at the right time. Thus far, Transmeta has announced projects with Sony, Microsoft, NEC, and Fujitsu—all of whom are either interested in the company's power-minimizing patents or in working directly with its engineers.
Transmeta's Crusoe and Efficeon proved to be unworthy competitors when measured against CPUs from Intel, AMD, and even VIA, but Transmeta still deserves credit for sparking debate and focusing attention on a critical issue. Hopefully, some of the technology they developed for the LongRun and LongRun2 series will prove useful when it comes to lowering temperatures and power consumption in next-generation processors.
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