After a brief and troubled spell of ownership by National Semiconductor, Cyrix is being sold off to Taiwanese semiconductor giant VIA. The sell-off comes as loss-making Cyrix has been coming under increased competitive pressure from the market leader in chips. Intel reversed its long trend of only chasing the higher ends of the market last year with the launch of the low-cost Celeron processor. Plus Cyrix's system-on-a-ship idea has been taken up by Intel, which is working on a chip code-named Timna, expected to appear some time next year.
Famously paranoid Intel chief Andy Grove might see a threat from smaller players like Cyrix and AMD, but in reality neither AMD nor Cyrix has made much of a dent in the chip giant's armour. It is in Intel's interests to let AMD and Cyrix keep some market share - it needs to have some healthy competitors to avoid the legal complications of being seen as a monopoly.
But, despite its heavy losses, the outlook for Cyrix under its new ownership is not all bleak.
Intel's relationships with PC makers have been the subject of much speculation.
Accusations of bullying tactics, forcing manufacturers with a blend of threats and encouragements to offer none but Intel chips, have dogged the company in recent years, in a striking parallel to the similar criticisms levelled at Microsoft. And just as Microsoft was plunged into a sea of legal troubles, an investigation into Intel's business practices was launched by the US's Federal Trade Commission last year. Unlike Microsoft, however, Intel has not suffered the indignity of a long court case.
Many of Intel's PC maker partners have cooled their relationship with the chip giant. Dell appears to be moving away from its Intel-friendly stance, while a few months ago Gateway, once a staunchly Intel-only shop, started using processors from rival vendors.
These moves are encouraging for Cyrix and AMD, opening up opportunities for increased sales. AMD's new K7 processor could prove to be pivotal technology for the company, enabling a turnaround in its fortunes.
If VIA can use its expertise in putting out very high volumes of semiconductors to flood the market with Cyrix chips, the price of chips will drop dramatically.
This will create unprecedented new competition for Intel at the low end of the market, while AMD challenges the high end with its corporate processors.
Users will be the ones to benefit from the increased competition, as prices will fall and Intel will be spurred on further to create more powerful chips as a way to differentiate itself.
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