Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 27th Mar 2007 22:24 UTC
Oracle and SUN Sun Microsystems has launched a new business unit to sell its Sparc processors, a return to an idea it had dropped years ago. David Yen, currently executive vice president of storage but previously in charge of Sun's Sparc work, will lead the new group and retain his executive VP status, the company said Thursday.
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RE: SPARC's dead Jim
by crystall on Wed 28th Mar 2007 09:47 UTC in reply to "SPARC's dead Jim"
crystall
Member since:
2007-02-06

The economies of scale have made it impossible for Sun to be able to compete with Intel in the processor business.

Sun has no intention to compete in the general-purpose processor market Intel is in. Their offerings are geared mostly around the Niagara line which are well suited for network gear. That's the high-end of the embedded market where the most prominent players are Freescale, Marvell, etc...

Intel has the entire market range from embedded to massive covered, and they've got better competitors than Sun against them in every market.

Not true. In the last few years Intel has done everything it could to focalize on their core business, that involved also exiting completely the embedded market:

http://www.techspot.com/news/22036-intel-sells-xscale-to-marvell-fo...

Intel never enjoyed much success there anyway mostly because the embedded market requires a degree of per-customer customization which is completely opposed to Intel philosophy of large scale production.

That said Sun has profundly changed the way they deal with chip design which is leading to huge savings, Niagara is a prime example for that. Their move to massive multi-threaded design and de-emphasis on clock speed turned made their new designs (including Rock) much simpler than the previous ones. Using replicated elements and fully synthesized logic (apart from memories) has cut significantly verification costs as well as time required to do it.

To cut mask costs (which are becoming huge) during the design process they also started verifying single components indipendently reducing the number of respins needed to get a working chip.

This doesn't mean that Sun will take over Intel, or any other player in the market, nor that they will be successful but they are certainly in a better shape compared with years of overambitious designs getting canned one after the other.

Finally this move was probably also prompted by their need to move to other fabs in the future for their processors as TI (quietly) announced that they would stop developing logic processes after the 45nm node.

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[2]: SPARC's dead Jim
by Cloudy on Wed 28th Mar 2007 17:04 in reply to "RE: SPARC's dead Jim"
Cloudy Member since:
2006-02-15

[p]Not true. In the last few years Intel has done everything it could to focalize on their core business, that involved also exiting completely the embedded market:[/p]

Do not assume that Intel sold Xscale to Marvell as a way of exiting the embedded market place. It was not that. It was a way of of exiting the ARM business so that they could concentrate their embedded strategy on their own low power chips, as they've recently announced.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[3]: SPARC's dead Jim
by crystall on Wed 28th Mar 2007 20:51 in reply to "RE[2]: SPARC's dead Jim"
crystall Member since:
2007-02-06

Do not assume that Intel sold Xscale to Marvell as a way of exiting the embedded market place. It was not that. It was a way of of exiting the ARM business so that they could concentrate their embedded strategy on their own low power chips, as they've recently announced.

As it is now Intel went from a minor presence in the embedded market to being not present at all. I don't think that they will manage to re-enter the market with low-power x86 processor because they lack the features needed by embedded designs (just look at how many components are integrated into modern embedded processors) and cost way too much to be competitive.

To be frank, Intel is used to the high-margin desktop/server segment where they do exceptionally well, the embedded market has razor-thin margins even in the high-end so I don't see how they could justify developing lines of processors for it or even simply trying to focus on it with their investors.

Reply Parent Score: 3