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July 25, 1988

DEC “NEGOTIATING AN EQUITY INVESTMENT IN MIPS COMPUTER”

By CBR Staff Writer

US reports suggest that DEC may be looking for more than just an OEM agreement from RISC systems manufacturer MIPS Computer Systems Inc of Sunnyvale, California. The two companies are currently in the early stages of negotiations for DEC to buy an equity stake in MIPS, according to Computer Systems News. Such a deal would provide both valuable funding for MIPS and increased influence and security for DEC if it uses MIPS hardware within future product lines. DEC recently cancelled two projects designed to boost the speed and power of its VAX series, including a RISC-based project codenamed Prism, and a re implementation of the VAX 8800 ECL processor, known as Argonaut. For the immediate future it is concentrating on another high-end project – codenamed Aquarius – and may concentrate its RISC efforts into a separate line of processors running Unix/Ultrix, distinct from the VAX architecture. Such a policy fits in with DEC founder Ken Olsen’s comments at the European Unix User Show last month that DEC would use specialist Unix processors for applications where raw processor speed is the most important factor. The biggest corporate invester in MIPS is currently Japanese agricultural and construction machinery maker Kubota Ltd, which last October invested $22.8m for 20% (CI No 796).

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