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Rambus' fourth quarter proved to buck the trend in the chip market, showing not only sequential growth but an improvement over the same period last year. The company's figures certainly make a change from the long list of statements announcing declining sales and earnings.

Revenue for the three months to 30 September hit $27.9 million, up 20 per cent on the previous quarter. Year-on-year growth was a meagre four per cent - which would usually barely trouble the scorer, but in the current economic climate is worthy of note. Royalty revenue rose 27 per cent during the quarter to $25.1 million.

Net income was up to $6.6 million from Q3's $3.9 million, but still well down on the $10.2 million the company reported this time last year.

Income would have been a lower had Rambus not experienced a "a significant reduction" in its legal costs. It spent $2 million less suing sundry rivals this quarter than it did during Q3. Q1 2001 could see the trend continue if its action against Micron is quickly dismissed thanks to the precedent set by the Infineon case. Then again, Rambus' lawyers will earn a healthy sum out of the company's appeal against the Infineon judgement.

Revenue for the full year was up 62 per cent on the previous twelve-month total to $117.2 million. Net income for the year reached $31.8 million, up on the $21.5 million Rambus reported for 2000.

As ARM showed earlier this week and Rambus has proved, selling intellectual property rather than physical product is the way to be - doubly so when buyers just aren't buying. ®

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