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January 25, 1998

TI READIES BASE LEVEL SYSTEM SOFTWARE SET FOR DSP CHIPS

By CBR Staff Writer

Texas Instruments Inc has agreed to acquire Spectron Microsystems Inc, as it once again boosts up its digital signal processing resources. Spectron, for which Texas will pay a purchase price in the region of $20m to $26m, is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Dialogic Corp based in Santa Barbara, California, and has developed the real-time SPOX signal processing operating system software for use in digital signal processing applications, and a suit of BIOS technology which already uses TI’s applications programming interfaces. TI is in the process of extending its digital signal processing expertise beyond the chips themselves towards the software that runs on them, and is putting together a base level of systems software so that software developers can concentrate on applications. At the end of last year it acquired GO DSP Corp, for its digital signal processing visual debugging tools (CI No 3,316), and Amati Communications Corp for its DSP- based communications chipsets and software (C No 3,294). Last year it also took a 5% stake in DSP inteface specialist Wolfson Microelectronics Ltd, and signed up with Sun Microsystems Inc to license EmbeddedJava and PersonalJava for use on digital signal processors. Texas says it shipped some 86 million DSP units last year, in a market predicted to grow at compound rates of 35% per annum over the next five years, largely driven by their use in cellular phones, modems and hard disk drives. Dialogic, based in Parsippany, New Jersey, is more interested in mainstream computer-telephony integration and internet telephony, and with less financial resoureces than TI, says its nevertheless interested in advancing the development of DSP software, and thinks the new deal will speed the whole process up. It will continue as a user of the product, and will retain some unspecified rights. Spectron, formed in 1987, was acquired by Dialogic back in February 1995 (CI No 2,600) and has around 65 staff. SPOX was designed to be processor independent, and also supports chips from Analog Devices Inc, Motorola Inc and Intel Corp. TI said it would honor existing contractual obligations, but doesn’t sound enthusiastic about developing the technology for competitive chipsets. TI won’t say whether it’s still looking for further components for its system software set.

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