Transmeta IPO: maybe this year, maybe not, says CEO

Dave 'Definitely, Maybe' Ditzel srikes again

Transmeta appears to be taking its 'will they? won't they?' approach to chip announcements to the company's financial future. Speaking at a Banc of America Securities conference in San Francisco yesterday, Transmeta CEO Dave Ditzel told the assembled gathering of analysts that "it is possible we could do an IPO" during 2000. Or possibly not, he added, if circumstances change. For 'circumstances' read 'financial health of the company', and that depends on Transmeta winning sufficient customers for its x86-emulating CPU, Crusoe. The Crusoe launch was notably short on statements of support from computer and device manufacturers-- ie. there weren't any. Since then, the only significant announcement has come from S3, which has simply said it plans to ship a line of information appliances under its Diamond Multimedia brand, devices that will be based on the low-end Crusoe 3120. Ditzel said yesterday that notebooks based on the 700MHz Crusoe 5400 will appear by the end of the year. He also said Taiwanese manufacturer Quanta, which builds notebooks under contract for many of the major PC vendors (see Wanna know which firms made your branded notebooks?), had agreed to use the 5400, as reported here. Quanta produces notebooks for Gateway, Dell, IBM, Apple and Siemens. That said, it doesn't design or specify the products, the vendors do. So whether the Quanta deal will lead to big-name support for Crusoe is another matter altogether. The chips themselves won't appear until next quarter, so Ditzel's claim that devices based upon them won't arrive until late 2000 is probably about right. The big-name support that Transmeta needs to validate its technology isn't likely to come any sooner than that, and it's that kind of support that adds real lustre to an IPO opportunity. ® Related Stories When Crusoe met Speedstep Russian wannabe Merced-killer claims Transmeta credit AMD K6-III mobile may trash Transmeta on thermals Transmeta chips to run Linux, Windows, attack Intel x86

Sponsored: Cluster speeds molecular dynamics research with NVIDIA GPUs