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AMD blasts $7.5m right into Transmeta

Impressed by lawsuit against Intel low power IP

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The cash-starved, collapsed superstar of my enemy is still my friend, according to AMD, which has injected Transmeta with $7.5m.

Transmeta announced the infusion in the briefest of statements, saying that AMD will receive preferred stock in exchange for its fat wallet. We'll leave it to you to debate how much stock in Transmeta might be worth, since the firm has given up on making its own chip designs in favor of licensing design intellectual property. This strategy has left Transmeta in a constant war against employment, including a round of firings in April that saw former CEO Dave Ditzel get the heave-ho.

AMD doesn't seem in the best position to throw cash around after suffering from lackluster sales in recent months. The company, however, hopes to tap Transmeta's technology for crafting energy-efficient processors, according to the statement. Such technology could be used to give AMD's notebook line a boost against Intel.

A more discerning observer might suggest that the investment has very little to do with technology, despite both companies' claims. Like AMD, Transmeta has a lawsuit aimed at Intel. AMD's helping hand should ensure that Transmeta can continue with the patent infringement case.

AMD and Transmeta have done their best over the years to usurp Intel's dominant share of the x86 processor market. Transmeta was once thought to be on course for an Opteron moment with its low-power laptops chips. But through its own fumbling and Intel's, um, aggressive postures, Transmeta failed to generate any sales of note. Meanwhile, Intel revamped its entire chip line to compete more effectively against the low-power attack.

As a result, we all have better laptop chips, and you can thank Transmeta for that. ®

Bootnote

Anyone needing a laugh before the weekend will want to check out this gem special to CNET. The story - "AMD: Barcelona based on customer input" - charges after the thesis that "Advanced Micro Devices designed Barcelona, its soon-to-be launched quad-core processor, based on feedback gathered from its customers." You won't find a stronger confirmation that CNET has given up on enterprise reporting than that.

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