IBM is launching a new program aimed at helping fabless semiconductor companies. It's expensive, often prohibitivly so, for semiconductor companies to solve their own design problems, or to have design shops manufacture their product. This, IBM hopes, to change with a new division it calls "IBM's Engineering & Technology Services."
With IBM Engineering & Technology Services, smaller chip firms can pay IBM to design/manufacturer their chips. This service IBM hopes wont just appeal to smaller companies; larger companies like Microsoft can also benefit from it. Especially when Microsoft wants to fully control the manufacturing process for the Xbox 2 console. Chips can be designed/manufactured in four ways: full-custom, semi-custom ASIC, semi-custom FPGA, or foundry.
An excellent division from IBM, it's surely going to help those smaller companies to get their products out into the market. IBM can introduce a bit more competition into a market in dire need of some; news today of the end of the Alpha chip is merely more proof of this fact. It'll be interesting to see the progress that this division makes over the next few years.
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