Computer Business Review


by CBR Staff Writer| 01 June 1998

Sparc chip maker Ross Technology Inc has finally given up fighting for its life, as its board of directors has decided to begin an orderly shutdown of the company's operations, while continuing its efforts to sell the remaining, smaller business. Since April, the Austin, Texas company has been exploring all of its financial options in the hope that it might be around long enough to capitalize on its 64-bit Viper technology amid decaying sales of the company's existing 32-bit products (CI No 3,382). Last month Ross warned that a shut down of operations may be coming (CI No 3,412). The decision to call it quits comes after a search for a buyer or another strategic alternative has proven fruitless. Ross insists it will continue to seek an alternative to a shutdown that could increase the value of its assets, but for now it believes it should begin the process of downsizing and shutting down its business operations. Roughly 93 employees, or 46% of the total work force, will be laid off over the next eight weeks, excluding the 30 employees at its design center in Israel. Under the plan approved by the board, the company will continue its operations, at a scaled-back level, through the end of the year. Customers will be given the opportunity to place orders for their projected needs, which Ross will try to meet. To that end, the company has formed a business unit, named BridgePoint, that will contain its significantly scaled-back staff and the inventory related to its 32-bit products. BridgePoint may then be sold separately or as a part of the entire company. The hope is also that by keeping its design and product engineers in place as well as a scaled-back test site, Ross will have a better chance of finding a buyer for the company or all or part of its assets, including its intellectual property. Discussions are ongoing with a number of parties, including majority owner Fujitsu Ltd, about purchasing products and assets, but there are no guarantees. There are also no guarantees that Ross will be able to pay off its creditors. Ross shares, which has Nasdaq has already threatened to de-list, fell $0.125 to just $0.0625.

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