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S3 buys UK Linux in-car MP3 player maker

SonicBlue snaps up Empeg

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British in-car MP3 system builder Empeg has been bought by S3... sorry... SonicBlue for an undisclosed sum.

For Empeg, it's good news. The company, based in Cambridge, has been developing and selling its automotive MP3 player for a couple of years now. Empeg has got a good development team that and some great technology under its belt - the player is essentially a custom-built system based on Linux running on an ARM processor - but has lacked the resources to market its products to their full potential.

Hopefully, that's what SonicBlue will provide, along with expertise in mass-production. Empeg's product will be re-branded and sold under SB's Rio division. That will free the Empeg team to focus their efforts on product development - the fun stuff, on other words.

"The deal enables us to focus on what we're best at - developing cool products," said Hugo Fiennes, Empeg's Technical Director.

Empeg has actually be working with SB for some time, having already created the code for SB and Dell's co-branded Rio Receiver. The two companies are co-operating on further products, and it couldn't have taken long for SB's chiefs to think, 'heck, why don't we just buy these guys up?'

The acquisition has yet to be completed, but Empeg Commercial Director Steve Sanders said he expects the deal to be over and done with within two weeks' time. ®

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