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February 20, 1989


By CBR Staff Writer

The proposed sale by Thorn EMI Plc of Inmos International Plc to SGS-Thomson Microelectronics NV is expected to become definitive in the next few days, and SGS-Thomson is already talking about its plans for the company, saying that Inmos will become the core of its microprocessor division, which also takes in second sourced Motorola 68000 and 68010 and several 8-bit chips on the Thomson side of the house, and Z80s and Z8000s, plus related chips, at SGS. Since Motorola decided that it did not want any second sources sharing the market for the high-end 68000 family parts, and the Zilog Z80000 bombed like a lead balloon, both sides of the house have been desperate to find a way in to the 32-bit microprocessor market: they now reckon that the Transputer could become the third most widely-used microprocessor architecture on the world market after the Intel iAPX-86 and the Motorola 68000 in the early 1990s, taking a share of perhaps 10%, and that share would be worth almost $100m on current forecasts, reports Electronique Actualites. That compares with $97m in 1988 for all Inmos’ activities, which include static RAMs and graphics chips as well as Transputers. However sale to SGS-Thomson is not certain, because top Inmos staffers may play hard to get.

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