Market Losers Litigate

by on October 12, 2006 · 14 comments

While looking for this week’s software patent, I came across this story about about Transmeta’s lawsuit against Intel:

Transmeta was the first company to emphasise that power consumption was going to be a major headache for chip and computer makers. It claimed that its Crusoe processors would be able to run the same software as Intel chips, but gobble up less electricity, thus leading to longer battery life.

Although the company landed early deals with Sony and Fujitsu when Crusoe arrived in 2000, it did not live up to its goals. Crusoe’s performance was middling, and Transmeta had several problems getting new versions out the door. Deals with Toshiba and others evaporated.

The chipmaker then went through several rounds of layoffs and changed its chief executive three times before refashioning itself into an intellectual property firm last year.

I wonder if “intellectual property firm” is a euphemism for “patent troll.”

It’s really quite a sad story. Transmeta was an innovative company with some amazing technology. As near as I can tell, they were crippled by poor execution and some bad business decisions. It’s too bad that this will be the final chapter of their corporate history.

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