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Guillemot grabs graphics pioneer Hercules

Picks up debt-ridden remains for $1.5 million

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Graphics card company Guillemot has bought what's left of graphics trailblazer Hercules, which collapsed this summer, for $1.5 million. Not a lot, you might think, for a business that recorded revenues of $20 million last year, but such was Hercules failure to keep up with the new wave of 3D companies -- 3dfx, Nvidia, S3 et al -- that this year it essentially ran out of cash. Owing between $1 million and $10 million to 3dfx, 3DLabs and Activision, but with a mere $100,000-500,000 in assets (according to MaximumPC), Hercules couldn't even pay its staff, most of whom bailed out, forcing the company into bankruptcy. Guillemot now takes over not only Hercules' assets, business funds and designs, but, much more importantly, its name and patents. Hercules was formed in 1982 and has one of the best known names in the business -- though whether it's as well known among graphics card consumers these days, is another matter. Guillemot said it wants to "revitalise Hercules' business to what it was in the past", but it's hard to see how it can. Pump in money for R&D, get modern boards sporting the latest technology out under the Hercules brand, yes, but will that allow the name Hercules to become synonymous with graphical innovation once more? Still, we don't know what neat stuff was sitting in Hercules' labs waiting for the company to sort itself out sufficiently to allow the technology to be exploited. ®

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