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Motorola touts chip tech to would-be licensees

Everything must go, including SOI

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Motorola has slapped a 'for license' sign on its array of chip-making technologies - including its silicon-on-insualtor techniques - in a bid to boost its semiconductor subsidiary's bottom line ahead of its anticipated IPO.

According to the Semiconductor Products Sector's director of intellectual property licensing, Paul Reidy, "everything" but a few "early" technologies, such as nano-crystalline flash memory is now available for third-parties to pick up and use - for a fee.

"We want to leverage the tremendous R&D benefits Motorola has built up. It complements the asset-light strategy we are pursuing," he said in an interview with Silicon Strategies.

"We're prepared to open up the SOI technology as well. Over time we believe SOI will penetrate more and more applications," he said.

Motorola is no stranger to licensing. Or selling off parts of its product line. Only last September, it sold its PowerPC host bridge product line to Tundra for $20 million.

Tower Semiconductor, STMicro, Philips and Honeywell have all been past recipients of licensed Motorola chip technologies. Other licensing efforts have been less successful: we recall attending a meeting a decade ago with Motorola staffers keen to offer the company's M.Core CPU to mobile phone and PDA makers. But while ARM has built a successful business out of such licensing deals, Motorola hasn't.

Reidy's goal is to cover SPS' R&D costs through licensing. He wouldn't say how close the licensing business has thus far come to reaching the $200 million SPS currently spends each year. ®

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