San Jose, California-based Cypress Semiconductor Corp claims performance leadership in the Sparc world with its superscalar HyperSparc, but has been less than successful in gaining design wins against the Texas Instruments Inc SuperSparc - and Cypress has now decided to give up on the unequal struggle. Yesterday it announced that it had signed a letter of intent to sell its Ross Technology Inc subsidiary, repository of all its Sparc work, to Fujitsu Ltd for $23m. Fujitsu is also a licensee of the Sparc architecture, but does not currently fabricate a device in the HyperSparc class. Cypress now plans to concentrate on static RAMs, programmable logic devices and its high-performance niche product lines. The 75 Ross employees in Austin, Texas will transfer to Fujitsu when the deal is completed - it should go through next month if Uncle Sam does not put up the kind of objections that thwarted Fujitsu's desire to buy Fairchild Semiconductor Corp a few years back. The parties also agreed continuation of a multi-million-dollar joint development programme between Cypress and Ross focused on the development of a complex logic-oriented product. Cypress and Fujitsu are committed to supporting current Sparc customers with both manufacturing and distribution. Fujitsu, which in 1990 abandoned plans for a top-end Sparc in favour of variants for embedded applications after deciding that the high-end market would be too small, says it will support future Sparc technology and work toward developing it as an industry-standard architecture. Cypress has no plans to develop future Sparc products but it will continue to handle distribution during the transition.
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