Sony, Fujitsu bash Transmeta

We want our chips

Sony and Fujitsu have had to reschedule the launch of at least five new notebook computers - and it's all Transmeta's fault, the two companies said today.

Both companies have released Crusoe-based machines before, most notably Sony's Vaio C1 Picturebook sub-notebook. Sony planned to offer a faster version this week, but the portable will now ship mid-January.

Sony didn't say which Crusoe it planned to use, but the smart money has to be on the 1GHz TM5800. This part isn't due until Q1 2002, if Transmeta's previous guidance is anything to go by although the company has only just begun shipping slower versions,. The C1 currently uses a 667MHz TM5600.

Fujitsu, meanwhile, has delayed the introduction of four FMV-Biblo LOOX notebooks from this week to mid-December. It too said it had made the decision because Transmeta couldn't get it sufficient chips in time.

Heaven knows Transmeta needs to get the TM5800 out pronto. With Q3 sales down 52 per cent to a mere $5 million, it needs to start selling chips before the money really runs out. Quite apart from the revenue, there's all the goodwill the company is sucking out of its customers.

To lose either the Sony or Fujitsu design wins to Intel would be a severe blow to Transmeta. There's no sign that either company will drop Crusoe, but its not hard to imagine either or them opting instead for low-power 0.13 micron mobile Pentium III chips.

Fujitsu's new, mid-December release date suggests Transmeta is either shipping TM5800s to both companies or has pledged to do so very shortly. If it has made that promise, we hope it keeps the pledge - it can't afford to have either Fujitsu or Sony delay product launches a second time. ®

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