Imagination thinks positive as ST pulls out of PC graphics Ics
Imagination thinks positive as ST pulls out of PC graphics IcsRichard Ball
STMicroelectronics’ decision to exit the PC graphics chip business could have a positive outcome for UK-based Imagination Technologies, which develops the PowerVR core architecture.
The French-Italian chip company licenses PowerVR for use in its Kyro and Kyro II chips, but has decided not to continue in the market.
“While we’re disappointed, if they can sell this business to someone, it could be a very good outcome,” Hossein Yassaie, CEO of Imagination, told Electronics Weekly.
ST made just $15m in revenue last year from PC graphics chips, a figure which could be improved by a buyer, leading to higher royalties for Imagination. ST announced last week it would be exiting the PC graphics chip business.
Talks with a potential buyer have been confirmed. “ST is in discussion with a company at the moment,” said a spokeswoman for ST.
Yassaie said Imagination is supporting ST at these discussions: “We are talking to the people involved,” he said.
Moreover, he claimed several other chip firms have approached Imagination with a view to licensing the PowerVR design.
Although ST is leaving the PC graphics chip sector, its work with Imagination will continue in other markets.
“Basically our relationship with ST has a number of facets. We work with them in PC and set-top boxes,” Yassaie pointed out. “And we expect to extend this into mobile applications.”
ST first licensed the PowerVR architecture three years ago, and has produced two generations of graphics chip. Last year it shipped around one million devices into the 50 million device market.
As recently as last June ST took a further licence for the next generations of PowerVR.
However, the spokeswoman said: “ST is focusing on business where it can achieve worldwide leadership.” According to the company, these include comms, automotive, smartcards and digital consumer products, such as set-tops.