editor's blog
Subscribe Now

MIPS Gets a New Home

Hey, wanna buy a CPU company? You’re too late, because MIPS Technologies was just sold for $60 million in cash. If that’s more than you have in your pocket, it’s still a tiny sum for a company that helped pioneer the idea of RISC processors. Once the deal goes through, the MIPS processor familiy will belong to Imagination Technologies, the same IP company that offers PowerVR graphics, HelloSoft code, Ensigma network IP, and other doodads for SoC developers. Now MIPS becomes the jewel in Imagination’s crown.

Interestingly, Imagination gets only 82 of MIPS’s collection of 580 patents. The other 498 were bought by a little-known firm called Allied Security Trust (AST). And that part of the sale cost $350 million — almost six times as much as the company itself. Even more interesting, MIPS arch-rival ARM put up about one-third of that purchase price. So ARM now has part-ownership of the bulk of MIPS’s patents.

Not to worry, though. Imagination has perpetual rights to the entire patent portfolio, not just the 82 it bought. And the company will continue to license and market MIPS processor cores, including the newer Aptiv designs. They’ll just be coming from a different company.

It’s no secret that MIPS was having financial trouble and was looking for a buyer. Still, it’s sad to see the company broken up and sold off. MIPS Computer Systems was one of the early RISC pioneers. The company spun off Silicon Graphics as well as MIPS Technologies, for the purpose of licensing its innovative high-performance CPUs. Alas, MIPS never got the kind of traction that ARM got, and it was all downhill from there. Ironically, most of its corporate IP is now in ARM’s hands.

Leave a Reply

featured blogs
Jan 17, 2020
I once met Steve Wozniak, or he once met me (it's hard to remember the nitty-gritty details)....
Jan 17, 2020
[From the last episode: We saw how virtual memory helps resolve the differences between where a compiler thinks things will go in memory and the real memories in a real system.] We'€™ve talked a lot about memory '€“ different kinds of memory, cache memory, heap memory, vi...
Jan 16, 2020
While Samtec started as a connector company with a focus on two-piece, pin-and-socket board stacking systems, High-Speed Board Stacking connectors and High-Speed Cable Assemblies now make up a significant portion of our sales. To support development in this area, in December ...
Jan 16, 2020
Betting on Hydrogen-Powered Cars On-demand DRC within P&R cuts closure time in half for MaxLinear Functional Safety Verification For AV SoC Designs Accelerated With Advanced Tools Automating the pain out of clock domain crossing verification Mentor unpacks LVS and LVL iss...

Featured Video

Automotive Trends Driving New SoC Architectures -- Synopsys

Sponsored by Synopsys

Today’s automotive trends are driving new design requirements for automotive SoCs targeting ADAS, gateways, connected cars and infotainment. Find out why it is essential to use pre-designed, pre-verified, reusable automotive-optimized IP to meet such new requirements and accelerate design time.

Click here for more information about DesignWare IP for Automotive