Feeds

Why Halla's head should be on the block

Cyrix debacle sorry tale with bitter end

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Bridging the IT gap between rising business demands and ageing tools

We first met Jerry Rogers, who co-founded Cyrix, about nine years ago at an Etre conference, in a bar. He's a tough boy. The Texan, who formerly worked for Texas Instruments, had some strong ideas about microprocessor design and was finding venture capital to put those ideas into practice. The guy has guts and also a sound engineering background which made us listen to what he had to say. You didn't need fabs to compete with Intel, he said, and you didn't need to do what AMD was doing then, essentially cloning Intel designs. Jerry Sanders III's statement that "only real men have fabs" was just talk, Rogers said. Over the next few years, we saw Intel boot up its profit and loss based legal division several times in a bid to knock Cyrix designs on the head. We were amused to see a fake cemetery with this headstone at its Richardson, Texas HQ, when we visited Cyrix a few years back. Cyrix had beaten the Intel legal machine. Rogers, after he'd shouted down a corridor: "Who let The Register into this building," proudly showed off the patents under the Cyrix belt. AMD had fared worse with Thomas Dunlap, Intel's legal counsel, and bought in the technology it craved and needed from NexGen. But whether real men needed fabs or not, Cyrix did need some place to make chips and it struck a deal with IBM Microelectronics (and SGS Thomsen) to make the pesky things. Unfortunately for Cyrix, IBM Micro never played fair. It wouldn't use its chip allocation in its own PCs, preferring instead to sell them through the merchant channel at prices which undercut Cyrix prices. Eventually, Rogers left Cyrix and, as we know, National Semiconductor took over the company. IBM Microelectronics eventually became an albatross around NatSemi's neck and the fabbing deal was terminated, leaving Brian Halla, CEO of National, to foot a whopping deal. NatSemi has made losses over the last seven quarters so it isn't too much of a surprise that its discrete x.86 business has gone. But it is a shame. Despite the fact that the Cyrix roadmap was flagging, it still had some top engineers working for it. Intel now has even less competition to worry about, with only AMD, Rise and IDT left in the game. But if Cyrix has gone, surely Mr Brian Halla should follow? He, after all, masterminded the $550 million takeover, and now only rubble remains. His system on a chip idea might work, but there's lots of competition there as well. It turns out that the gravestone that Jerry Rogers put in the reception area of the Richardson site was actually engraved with the wrong epitaph. Intel Inside lives. RIP, Cyrix. ®

The Power of One Brief: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Nadella: Apps must run on ALL WINDOWS – PCs, slabs and mobes
Phone egg, meet desktop chicken - your mother
White? Male? You work in tech? Let us guess ... Twitter? We KNEW it!
Grim diversity numbers dumped alongside Facebook earnings
HP, Microsoft prove it again: Big Business doesn't create jobs
SMEs get lip service - what they need is dinner at the Club
ITC: Seagate and LSI can infringe Realtek patents because Realtek isn't in the US
Land of the (get off scot) free, when it's a foreign owner
Dude, you're getting a Dell – with BITCOIN: IT giant slurps cryptocash
1. Buy PC with Bitcoin. 2. Mine more coins. 3. Goto step 1
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.