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Is MIPS up for sale?

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MIPS, the 64-bit technology that Compaq's ex CEO Eckhard Pfeiffer loved to love, span off this time last year. Its bitter rival is Brit chip company ARM and we're talking embedded here folks, so don't get bored. Nevertheless, despite the fact that SGI owns 85 per cent of its stock, the rumour mill is currently ramping up. As in, who will buy it to save SGI from its nemesis? If you remember, SGI thought that MIPS was a smart chip company and took it into its arms. SGI, beleaguered by this and that, then thought we'll spin it off. MIPS' model is different from ARM's. The latter company sells licenses while the former doesn't but has royalty revenues. And as there are twin MIPS chips in the next iteration of the PlayStation, from Sony, others like Intel should be concerned. At next week's embedded processor forum in San Jose, California, we are given to understand that 128 bit chips from MIPS will further strengthen its bitter rivalry against ARM. As MIPS has huge OEMs backing it, this is going to be the gladiatoral contest of embedded.... Someone must have to buy it, we think. Speculation revolves around Motorola although Intel, could of course, prompt a further anti-trust case by so doing. The jury is out. ®

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