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April 20, 1994

INTERNATIONAL META SYSTEMS HOPES TO PERSUADE SGS THOMSON TO MAKE ITS 80486-COMPATIBLE RISC

By CBR Staff Writer

International Meta Systems Inc, the Torrance, California-based designer of the 80486 RISC emulator, is close to signing a deal with processor fabricator SGS-Thomson Microelectronics BV. Meta, which has developed the IMS 3250 RISC chip as a competitor to iAPX-86, says that it hopes to formally sign a deal with SGS to get the chip fabricated at the latter’s facility in Grenoble, France. The companies have already been working closely together and the 0.5 micron plant, which SGS-Thomson co-owns with Philips Electronics NV, is a prime target for Meta because SGS has cross-licences with Intel Corp, making it harder for the latter to succeed in a lawsuit against Meta. Anyway, Meta claims that its 80486 emulation doesn’t infringe on Intel patents, so there. Meta’s president and chief executive George Smith has only $750,000 left in the company’s coffers, and it hasn’t made any revenue yet. The company, which isn’t yet traded on NASDAQ, is coming to Europe in a private placing to large banks, and hopes to get UKP7m from the move. It forecasts profits at the turn of the year. The IMS 3250 RISC chip is designed for high level integration, including a signal processor, Direct Memory Access and a Dynamic RAM controller on the same chip, alongside 80486 emulation. The firm, which recently signed with Sharp Corp to allow the latter to produce a speech-directed typewriter with the chip, is soon to sign a deal with a major computer manufacturer according to Smith. The Sharp deal took on new significance when Smith started deriding the ARM chip as much slower than the IMS 3250. Sharp makes its own version of the handheld Newton machine – which currently uses the Advanced RISC Machines Ltd ARM chip.

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