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Motorola to buy Metrowerks

Chip vendor to acquire leading IDE developer for $95m

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Motorola today signalled its intention to buy software development tools specialist Metrowerks for $95 million, the company's semiconductor division said today. Metrowerks made a name for itself in the mid-90s with its CodeWarrior integrated development environment (IDE) for Apple's first PowerPC-based Macs. Since then, the company expanded its software to support application development for Windows, Sony PlayStation, Palm, BeOS, Nintendo N64, Solaris, QNX, a stack of embedded CPUs (including Motorola's M-Core and Philips' TriMedia) and, more recently, Red Hat Linux. CodeWarrior is also the official development environment for Nintendo's upcoming Dolphin game console. It's also this reporter's favourite multi-platform development environment. The deal isn't final -- if it doesn't happen, Motorola will be entitles to a $4.7 million payment and a 19.9 per cent stake in the company, a major incentive to Metrowerks to make sure the deal goes through -- but the fact that the two companies are saying it's going to take place indicates they're pretty damn confident it will happen. Early September, Motorola will attempt to buy all outstanding Metrowerks shares for $6.25 apiece. The Metrowerks board has approved the plan -- not surprising, perhaps, since the company's two founders stand to make $11.4 million each on the deal. Motorola said Metrowerks will continue to operate as a standalone company, but it will be interesting to see to what extend the chip developer leverages its ownership of the IDE company to promote sales of its embedded CPUs: buy our chip and get a really great multi-platform development environment. Metrowerks earlier this year separated its Windows and Mac development tools into two standalone products -- previously CodeWarrior's IDE could be hosted on either platform for the development of apps for either platform. ®

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