Lucent and Motorola are to combine their research and development efforts in the digital signal processors arena to challenge market leader Texas Instruments.
The two chip giants will merge their current projects in next generation DSP core technology in time to take advantage of an expected explosion in electronic appliances based on DSPs.
They plan to develop a unified architecture that will span real time embedded control, low power terminals and multichannel devices.
DSPs are specialised semiconductors that perform high speed mathematical computations with voice, data and video signals. They are used in mobile phones, pagers, digital cameras and voice recognition systems.
Texas Instruments is the market leader with a 30 per cent share. The combined share of its rivals is about equal to this.
The two companies will cross license each other?s newest DSP cores, Lucent?s DSP56800 and DSP16000, and Motorola?s M.Core microcontroller. The companies will then take the architecture and develop their own future processors.
A joint design centre called Star*Core will also be open in Atlanta, US. It is expected to house 100 Motorola and Lucent staff initially, with an investment of between $200,000 and $250,000 per employee. The facility is scheduled to open in the third quarter of this year with the first core design expected by mid 1999.
One analyst referred to the announcement as ?unprecendented? and a ?very dramatic event in the DSP industry?. Will Strauss, president of market researchers Forward Concepts, said: ?It underscores the importance of DSP in the coming decade and will certainly lead to new technology platforms that should be attractive for a wide variety of applications.?
John Hughes, managing director of Lucent?s microelectronics group in the Emea region, stressed the partnership is to combine research and development efforts rather than save dollars. ?There would probably be zero savings. The issue is to combine innovation. We will maintain research and development spend at a competitive level," he claimed.
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