Imagination Technologies puts MIPS and Ensigma up for sale

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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    • renz496
    • 3 years ago

    so imagination has no desire to “join” other graphic company?

    • Unknown-Error
    • 3 years ago

    Any idea who will buy MIPS?

      • ronch
      • 3 years ago

      I’m afraid it’ll be a big Chinese conglomerate or something. Nonetheless the writing has been on the wall for MIPS’ fate, I guess. There’s no way another ISA could unseat x86 in the market for real computers or ARM in mobile devices. Heck, these 2 big ISAs can’t even make any meaningful progress into each other’s turf.

        • NoOne ButMe
        • 3 years ago

        no? No wave of ARM serversr upcoming?
        [url<]https://techreport.com/news/31557/report-microsoft-ports-windows-server-to-arm[/url<] Intel's failure to push into phones has less to due with ISA and tech, and more decisions made. Valid decisions, which made for their Atom SoC far better in the OEM market, and basically non-viable in the mobile market. The choice to "Save money" not making a phone/tablet variant hurt hard. ARM's consumer push has been all on the software. Be it incompatibility due to ISA leading to terrible WART. Or unwilling to make a desktop Skin for Android by OEM.

      • NoOne ButMe
      • 3 years ago

      it’s not even all the IP of MIPS.

      only viable buyers seem to be companies involved in the ARM led group:
      [url<]https://www.arm.com/about/newsroom/arm-announces-participation-in-a-consortium-to-acquire-rights-to-mips-technologies-mips-portfolio.php[/url<]

      • Rza79
      • 3 years ago

      I would [i<]imagine[/i<] that it will be one of their current licensees. Any of these would be a possibility: [url<]http://eecatalog.com/mips/2008/05/09/mips-licensees/[/url<] If I could make a guess, I would say Broadcom since they are one of the highest volume shippers of MIPS based SoCs.

    • tipoo
    • 3 years ago

    Nvidia hid a partial tile based setup right under our noses for over a year before it was widely discovered. I wonder how, if Apple does not supply the technical ways they avoided Imaginations patents, Imagination would ever prove they are infringing them.

    As I understand a patent on a specific way to do TBR is the heart of theirs and Apples GPUs (which are 2/3rds custom already), but Nvidia does so as well as do most mobile architectures, as far as I know everyone isn’t suing everyone so maybe there are other ways for Apple to do it.

    Will be interesting to follow I guess, more for the technical side as patent lawsuits are so boring.

      • NoOne ButMe
      • 3 years ago

      APPLE gpus ARE custom layout, ISA/architecture is PowerVR s standard

        • tipoo
        • 3 years ago

        David Kanter says otherwise. Shader cores themselves were replaced. PowerVR stuff remaining is the fixed function blocks. Cores may share legacy with PowerVR but are significantly re architected, not just a layout change.

        [url<]http://www.realworldtech.com/apple-custom-gpu/[/url<]

          • NoOne ButMe
          • 3 years ago

          seems i misunderstood the article.

          thanks 🙂

    • blastdoor
    • 3 years ago

    Between this and the Qualcomm case, I’m getting the impression that Apple has decided the winning side of patent disputes is to be the defendant rather than the plaintiff. Even if you lose, it will take years and the damages end up being trivial compared to all the money you made in the interim.

      • tipoo
      • 3 years ago

      Basically Intel back in the day. Damages won by AMD were nothing to momentum gained and stalled.

        • blastdoor
        • 3 years ago

        Another example that comes to mind is what Bill Gates said when he came to buy out Compu-Global-Hyper-Mega-Net:

        “I didn’t get rich writing checks”

          • Mat3
          • 3 years ago

          Doh!

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