Nat Semi admits chip disappointment

Nat Semi admits chip disappointment

Barely three months after "re-establishing" its Australian office in a bid to build brand awareness for Cyrix processors, National Semiconductor is getting out of the PC processor business.

The chip manufacturer recently announced that it will soon bow out of the PC chip business after taking a severe financial beating at the hands of its competitors during the past few quarters.

The company, which has had an on-again, off-again local presence since 1964, will instead focus on "the emerging" information appliance market and its traditional analog business.

John Bevilacqua, head of National Semiconductor's Australian office, expressed muted disappointment at the directive handed down from head office. He was, however, quick to point out that the decision to exit the chip market was one made on a global level, and that the local operation had little choice but to go along with it.

"We were hoping to grow the Cyrix business of course, but that's changed," he said. "It's important to understand that this was a global decision and we are putting into place what is consistent with global policies. National announced its decision to exit the PC business on a worldwide basis so therefore [Australia] has to move in that direction as well."

The company's worldwide CEO, Brian Halla, recently posted a statement on National Semiconductor's Web site which said in part, "We will immediately cease slugging it out in the PC processor market."

Asked if this statement about the vendor's departure from the processor game is an admission of defeat at the hands of competitors Intel and Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), Bevilacqua was cagey.

"You could read that," he said. "I'm not going to put words into Brian's mouth - he's put it succinctly there. My view is that it's a very competitive marketplace out there and we have to compete in the best way possible."

Bevilacqua said National Semiconductor's Australian office will continue to support its existing Cyrix customers until it can find a buyer for the brand. He declined to speculate on when this will happen.

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