Without the backing of its hapless majority shareholder Fujitsu Ltd, Ross Technology would have gone the way of all failing companies and what talents remain in its R&D labs would have found more rewarding employment with its competitors. But having made the investment, Fujitsu could not walk away and is keeping Ross afloat until the release of its 64-bit Viper processor in 1999. But will there will be anything left of Ross by that time? While chairman Jack Simpson talks about results moving in the right direction, he is only boasting that costs have been cut in a even more dramatic fashion than sales. With the company’s big customers like Sun Microsystems Inc turning their backs on 32-bit chips, Ross’s sales have nose-dived by 45% in the second quarter to $11.4m and this trend can only accelerate. Simpson is confident that the Viper microprocessor – primarily funded by Fujitsu – will have competitive performance specifications. Its launch however is still a considerable distance away and the market – and the customers – may well have moved further away from Ross by then.
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