Crusoe to dominate Taiwanese production, says Transmeta

But this could turn out to a little bit optimistic...

Transmeta CEO Dave Ditzel and VP marketing Jim Chapman did have something new to say when they showed up in London yesterday, but history will judge whether or not it was smart.

According to Chapman, Transmeta's Crusoe and Mobile Linux combo is being adopted by the entire Taiwanese IT industry for Web pad-type devices. By a strange coincidence Taiwan's National Science Council last week announced that it would be investing around $650 million (US) in order to boost Taiwan's Internet Appliance industry over the next five years.

In the view of the NSC the IA industry is the Next Big Thing, and the Taiwanese government intends to have the island producing somewhere in the region of $5 billion (US) worth of them by 2005. Taiwan's IT industry has in the past been very much driven by government intervention, and it would appear that the latest investment is more of the same. If the government is right, and the initiative succeeds, then the IA business is clearly a very big prize for Transmeta.

And no doubt Transmeta already has a couple of deals stitched up provisionally, quite probably involving the unveiling of prototypes at CeBIT later this week. But there's many a slip. You'll recall a year or two back NatSemi boss Brian Halla did quite a lot of mouthing off about how big the company was going to be in information appliances, and was assiduously courting Taiwanese companies as potential customers.

With subsequent events in mind, one might think Mr Chapman may be getting a little bit ahead of himself when he says: "The entire island of Taiwan is standardising on these mobile devices using Mobile Linux and Crusoe."

Via might have something to say about that, for a start. But we'll see what Transmeta hardware launches at CeBIT, and it's probably also worth watching to see if Mobile Linux and Crusoe start turning up in NSC blueprints. ®

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