HTC acquires S3 Graphics for $300 million

The thriving smartphone maker HTC has acquired a graphics chip company that at one point in the 1990s was right up there with Nvidia and ATI. TechCrunch reports that HTC will acquire the S3 Graphics division of Via Technologies. HTC will buy all of the shares of the company for $300 million. Via will get $147 million of the money while another investor in S3 Graphics, WTI Investment International, will receive $153 million. HTC's co-founder Cher Wang is also the chairman of VIA Technologies and is a large shareholder in WTI.

Founded in 1989 in the Bay Area of California, S3 Graphics started out by making 2D graphics cards for PCs and was one of the leading companies in this market. In the late 1990's during the 3D graphics boom, S3 Graphics released the ViRGE graphics chips. However the chips were not as fast as competing PC graphics cards with chips from Nvidia, ATI and the now shut down 3Dfx. S3 Graphics was later sold to Via Techologies for $323 million in 2001. The company has continued to release new PC graphics chips under the Chrome branding but it never gained as much market share as Nvidia, AMD (the new owners of ATI) or Intel.

HTC will not only get access to a number of patents and technology related to graphics it will also gain some patents that might help it in its legal fight against Apple. In 2010, HTC filed a lawsuit against Apple claiming it had violated its patents. Recently, S3 Graphics won its own court battle against Apple as a court agreed that Apple had violated two of S3 Graphics' patents relating to "systems and methods for compressing images" and "image data formats".

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Xenosion said,
Patents...seems as though the world revolves around them now.

I never thought about it in this way: buy another company that does things not related to our just to get some of their patents and sue other companies

tsupersonic said,
Oh yeah, I hope Apple gets trolled at its own game muhaha! Go HTC!
Patent "trolling" is hardly something exclusive to Apple.

virtorio said,
Patent "trolling" is hardly something exclusive to Apple.

first time i saw a case about the "shape" of an electronic device.. Its sooooooo dumb when companies sue about something that has nothing to do with function.. it would be hp suing acer for their laptop look very similar.. its just really silly if you think about it.. think if car makers were being sued by the first company that made a convertible (not how the roof comes down but just the fact that it does)

virtorio said,
Patent "trolling" is hardly something exclusive to Apple.
Did I say it was? I just want to see Apple get served with all its recent patent lawsuits.

One day we might reach a point where people are affraid to create and innovate because of the patent system.

LaP said,
One day we might reach a point where people are affraid to create and innovate because of the patent system.

There's nothing creative or innovative about duplicating somebody elses work.

LaP said,
One day we might reach a point where people are affraid to create and innovate because of the patent system.
+1. I think that day is closer than many realize.

HTC's co-founder Cher Wang is also the chairman of VIA Technologies and is a large shareholder in WTI.

Passing money from one pocket into the other, ha!

I can't understand how via lasted so much doing R&D for working processor and chipset without selling one product, and can't imagine what they'll do without the access to a decent chipset and gpu core...

fehu said,
I can't understand how via lasted so much doing R&D for working processor and chipset without selling one product, and can't imagine what they'll do without the access to a decent chipset and gpu core...

Perhaps that aim was to develop, create patients and sell themselves... Another way of doing business I guess.

imachip said,

Perhaps that aim was to develop, create patients and sell themselves... Another way of doing business I guess.

still they are selling it at less than they purchased
it's more a desperate move

"...that at one point in the 1990s was right up there with Nvidia and ATI."

Not even close to correct, actually. The ViRGE was widely regarded as the graphics industry's first 3D decelerator, and S3 was considered a bad joke. For S3's encore, the Savage was an epic fail before it's first year was up...S3 couldn't wait to stop fabbing those procs.

nVidia and ATi bowed to Matrox+Voodoo during this period, but still...S3 was totally unable to compete with offerings from either nVidia or ATi. Heck, I think even Intel GMA outperformed S3...

Slugbait said,
"...that at one point in the 1990s was right up there with Nvidia and ATI."

Not even close to correct, actually. The ViRGE was widely regarded as the graphics industry's first 3D decelerator, and S3 was considered a bad joke. For S3's encore, the Savage was an epic fail before it's first year was up...S3 couldn't wait to stop fabbing those procs.

nVidia and ATi bowed to Matrox+Voodoo during this period, but still...S3 was totally unable to compete with offerings from either nVidia or ATi. Heck, I think even Intel GMA outperformed S3...

S3 isn't all bad. ViRGE/DX and others were way better than the original ViRGE, and they gave people a taste of real 3D for a *fraction* of the cost of anything from Rendition or 3Dfx. Why pay for a $200 Voodoo (which had no 2D), or $150 for a Rendition Verite (which had crap drivers) when you could get a $50 ViRGE/DX card with good 2D and functional 3D?

Heck, I down-graded from a Rendition Verite 2100 to a ViRGE/DX *just* to get better drivers and more stable system. Sure, 3D performance took a hit, but my system was suddenly stable.

Plus, the S3 Chrome video cards out-perform many older GeForce and Radeon HD cards.
It's good to see S3 is still alive and has a future.

Slugbait said,
"...that at one point in the 1990s was right up there with Nvidia and ATI."

Not even close to correct, actually. The ViRGE was widely regarded as the graphics industry's first 3D decelerator, and S3 was considered a bad joke. For S3's encore, the Savage was an epic fail before it's first year was up...S3 couldn't wait to stop fabbing those procs.

nVidia and ATi bowed to Matrox+Voodoo during this period, but still...S3 was totally unable to compete with offerings from either nVidia or ATi. Heck, I think even Intel GMA outperformed S3...


Top GPU 3D accelerator back in them days where all pettey much 3dfx Voodoo or Rendition
Top GPU 2D accelerator back in them days was Tseng Labs (DOS/Windows) or Matrox (Windows)
nVidia, ATi, Trident, SiS, Rendition, PowerVR, Bitboys just name a few had there Unfortunately decelerator problem which be 2D or 3D part or just plain to crash pron drivers like ATI dose that rings any bells here or turned out to be major vaporware.
So what poor S3 win here well that be S3 Texture Compression
Slugbait there was no Intel GMA that far back but it was know as Lockheed Martin Real3D or Intel i740

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