Our affiliate Unigram in Tokyo spoke to representatives of the subsidiaries of MIPS Computer Systems Inc and Silicon Graphics Inc about how the merger of their parent companies would affect operations in Japan. Both MIPS and the president of Nippon Silicon Graphics, Teruyasu Sekimoto, voiced extremely positive outlooks for the new merged company in Japan. […]
Our affiliate Unigram in Tokyo spoke to representatives of the subsidiaries of MIPS Computer Systems Inc and Silicon Graphics Inc about how the merger of their parent companies would affect operations in Japan. Both MIPS and the president of Nippon Silicon Graphics, Teruyasu Sekimoto, voiced extremely positive outlooks for the new merged company in Japan. The official answer on the merger is that nobody quite knows yet – although it is a foregone conclusion that the 100%-owned subsidiaries will merge, the question is just when and how – decisions will be made once the parent companies have passed through the US Fair Trade Commission and shareholder approval process, which is expected to take 60 days. Two weeks ago, just prior to the announcement, Dave Ludvigson, vice-president of MIPS, toured Japan speaking to MIPS Computer semiconductor partners and licensees. According to Tom Laux, the MIPS Computer Japan business development manager who was responsible for the initial set-up of MIPS in Japan in January 1988, NEC Corp, Toshiba Corp and Nippon Kokan KK were universally in favour of the move, with each of these companies already having some relationship with Nippon Silicon Graphics – in one or other division of the company – presumably as licensees of graphics libraries. Kubota Co, the manufacturer of MIPS R-series-based boxes for its system business, and a competitor of Silicon Graphics with its Titan range, could reasonably be expected to have had some qualms, but after all Kubota will end up with 5% of the new company, at that level possibly the largest shareholder and in any case only some of Kubota’s range competes with the Iris line even in the graphics field. In effect, said Tom Laux, the arrangement allows MIPS to concentrate on what it is good at – the research and development and licensing of new semiconductor technologies, and girds the company for competing better against Hewlett-Packard Co and IBM Corp at the high end and Intel Corp at the low end, while at the same time providing the neutrality necessary for the licensees, particularly the Japanese manufacturers – to concentrate on their forte, process technology. MIPS has been extremely successful in licensing its semiconductor technology in Japan, but less successful on the systems side. As well as manufacturing relationships with NEC and Toshiba, it also has relationships with Sony Corp and Nippon Kokan, and a major proportion of the 1,000 design wins for the R3000 and R4000 has been in Japan, with product being released in a variety of forms, including Sony and NEC workstations and servers, and Seiko-Epson Co laser printers. Under development are said to be an Advanced RISC Computing-compliant personal computer incorporating the R4000 – from NEC; and two exciting systems incorporating the R3000 in an embedded controller – from an unannounced vendor or vendors. Both NEC and Toshiba are expected to ship, in the second quarter of this year, system ASICs for building the Advanced RISC Computing systems. The Japanese language version of Windows NT will ship in early release late this year, and the shrink-wrapped release in early 1993. On the Silicon Graphics side, Sekimoto-san termed the merger of MIPS and Silicon Graphics a natural marriage stemming from their common background out of Stanford University and long business relationship. Nippon Silicon Graphics was set up back in April 1987, and in the financial year ending last June it had revenues of around $80m, with 70 employees. To date it has sold 6,000 of its Iris series workstations. In 1989 Nippon Silicon Graphics established an office in Osaka, followed by a technical centre and a manufacturing centre, and an office in Nagoya last year.