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November 21, 1995

IBM AND MOTOROLA POOL CHIP EXPERTISE TO EASE POWERPC DESIGN

By CBR Staff Writer

IBM Corp and Motorola Inc have announced that they will share manufacturing processes to build future generations of PowerPC chips. The work, which will be based at IBM’s Advanced Semiconductor Technology Centre in East Fishkill NY is aimed partly at easing the task of the Somerset Design Centre. IBM sources have acknowledged that in the past, the joint Somerset PowerPC design centre has be forced into compromises in order to accommodate the two companies’ disparate silicon technologies. A single high-density technology spanning the two companies will make the design team’s efforts much easier. In addition, the companies will use the venture to pool that scarcest of resources: silicon process designers who really know what is going on at the cutting edge. The intention is to research techniques to produce CMOS technology at well below the 0.2 micron mark. Neither company is giving exact figures on how many people they will be committing to the joint venture – we’ve heard numbers that range up to 150 – however it seems that the total number of staff will be fewer than those ensconced at Somerset. The interesting question is who will be bringing what to the party – neither IBM nor Motorola is keen on comparing and contrasting their approaches. The IBMer we spoke to would only say that IBM believes itself to be the leader in high density, high-speed silicon technology – translation: ‘we are giving Motorola a leg-up.’

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