IBM, Motorola to license PowerPC architecture

IBM, Motorola to license PowerPC architecture

As IBM and Motorola turn their attention to embedded applications for their PowerPC architecture, they hope other semiconductor manufacturers will, too. Part of the companies' embedded PowerPC agreement allows each company to license other companies, which in turn can make the parts for their own use or sell them to OEMs.

"Both can freely license other companies," noted analyst James Turley. The two companies don't even have to discuss their licensing plans with each other, he added.

IBM or Motorola could license a manufacturer of communications integrated circuits, for example, so that the third party can incorporate the CPU into its products, Turley said. An ASIC supplier also might want to license PowerPC to add the architecture to its portfolio, Turley noted.

In addition, a user of large quantities of embedded PowerPC chips might want to hold a licence in order to make the chips itself, should that become necessary or desirable, Turley said.

Neither company would comment on possible licensees, but they are "in discussions with various companies," said Elliot Newcomb, marketing and applications manager for PowerPC at IBM Microelectronics.

Another aspect of the IBM-Motorola agreement has the two companies developing standards for embedded PowerPC chips so that they offer compatible products, Turley said. To date, the two companies have provided compatible chips aimed at Apple computers but have offered their own lines of embedded processors, he noted.

Written standards will help keep costs down by preventing a proliferation of incompatible designs, Turley said.

"That's a step in the right direction," Turley added.

IBM and Motorola announced last month that they would be cooperating in embedded PowerPC designs.

IBM Microelectronics Division


Motorola Semiconductor Products Sector


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