Infineon, Agere, Motorola Reach for the StarCore

As the need for digital signal processor (DSP) technologies continues to grow, Europe’s No. 2 chipmaker, Infineon Technologies
and American companies Agere Systems and Motorola Tuesday agreed to create a new company to serve the DSP market.

The newly formed company, StarCore, LLC, will develop and license DSP “cores” to perform high-speed mathematical computations for processing analog to digital data in real time. The “cores” are connected at the chip level to other circuitry to define a complete DSP chip for use in cell phones, digital conferencing, digital audio and video, and various other communication products and services.

Thomas Lantzsch, the newly appointed chief executive officer of StarCore, hopes to differentiate the company through its use of open licensing.

“Our mission and strategy contrast sharply with both traditional DSP business models based on proprietary DSP technologies and other industry collaborations that design cores for use by just one or two companies,” said Lantzsch. “We aim to fundamentally change the competitive playing field through licensing and wide availability of DSP cores.”

The CEO hopes that this wide-spread availability will help manufacturers of communications systems and semiconductor devices accelerate their time to market and lower overall production costs.

Lantzsch comes to the new company from Motorola’s Semiconductor Products Sector, where he was vice president and director of Intellectual Property Value Creation.

The DSP market is expected to continue to grow with the proliferation of voice compression, voice recognition, digital music and video compression, and other broadband communications, which all benefit from the use of the chips.

Forward Concepts, a DSP market research firm, recently released findings indicating an industry-wide growth rate of 27 percent through 2006, with revenues for that year estimated at more than $14 billion.

“DSP has become the technology driver for the semiconductor industry,” said Will Strauss, president of Forward Concepts. “Without DSP there would be no access to the Internet, no multimedia, and no digital wireless.”

Agere and Motorola are currently second and third, respectively, in market share for digital signal processors, following industry leader Texas Instruments.

The newly-formed company, headquartered in Austin, Texas, is expected to begin operations in late summer 2002, subject to regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions.

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