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ARM server chip upstart Calxeda bites the dust in its quest for 64-bit glory

Heavy hangs the crown, says plucky startup as it begins restructuring process

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Updated ARM server chip designer Calxeda has shut down as one of its executives told The Register: "We simply ran out of money."

The plucky company, founded in 2008, had banked $90m in funding during its lifetime, and carried the torch for taking ARM-compatible system-on-chips into servers. But in the past 30 minutes, news broke that it was "restructuring" with an intellectual property fire sale looking likely.

It was due to bring out a range of 64-bit ARM processors next year, and reported good success with its 32-bit ECX chips, including a presence in shipped Hewlett-Packard kit.

Despite a healthy amount of cash and much goodwill in the industry – Facebook's head of hardware supply Frank Frankovsky just joined the board of the company – the upstart is entering a period of restructuring that we've heard from multiple reliable sources is equivalent to a shutdown.

One contact close to the matter told us the business is closed from today for employees, just a week before Christmas.

"Carrying the load of industry pioneer has exceeded our ability to continue to operate as we had envisioned. We wanted to let you know that Calxeda has begun a restructuring process. During this process, we remain committed to our customers' success with ECX-2000 projects that are now underway," the company said in a statement to The Register today.

The abrupt shutdown took many in the industry by surprise.

Calxeda's website was unavailable at the time of writing, although its open-source code repository is still online. The Austin-based company circulated its statement apparently in response to a story published earlier today by AllThingsD's Arik Hesseldahl, which quoted a contact claiming the startup "just ran out of runway."

Though there are other ARM server pushers in the market, the shutdown is likely to cause shock in the tight-knit ARM industry. El Reg's power-thrifty-chip desk sends its condolences to the startup's 125-strong workforce, many of whom are now looking for jobs.

"We will update you as we conclude our restructuring process," the company's statement continued. "Energy, matter, and innovation are never lost, just reassembled. We look forward to the inevitable application of our ideas."

It is likely Calxeda will try to sell its valuable intellectual property to, as the saying goes, "preserve value" for investors, and possible return from the ashes as a new biz. We will be watching closely to see who ponies up for its fabric-level ARM knowhow. ®

Updated to add

Calxeda's marketing chief Karl Freund has got in touch with some more information.

"The restructuring will determine what happens to the assets and people. For now, we have closed our office and sent everyone home except a few people to continue to support our customers. We have about 130 employees. The product remains available and will be sold or serviced by whatever company takes shape after the restructuring," he told us.

"The market is just materializing, and it's a shame that we simply ran out of money at this time. The financing we thought we had lined up disappeared quite suddenly, and we ran out of runway to put another deal together."

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