National Semiconductor quits PC-chip business

Pointing to the financial beating it has taken over the past few quarters, National Semiconductor has announced it is getting out of the PC processor business.

In a statement, the company said it will quit manufacturing PC-socket-compatible microprocessors, but will keep and further develop its integrated processor line.

Its PC processor line included two separate lines of Intel-compatible x86 processors, one of which it acquired when it bought chip maker Cyrix in November 1997. The integrated processor line which it will keep includes Cyrix's MediaGX multi-function graphics chip -- used in set-top boxes, thin-clients, thin-servers and portable Web devices -- as well as systems-on-a-chip, which integrate all the components of computer system on one piece of silicon. The latter, still under development, are to include graphics, video and communications functions, National Semiconductor said.

The company also plans to maintain its traditional analogue processor business, and will continue to supply silicon to the PC motherboard market, as well as the company's family of SuperI/O peripheral products.

The move will also mean the loss of 550 jobs through early retirement, attrition and layoffs, including 165 job cuts in Singapore already announced in April, National Semiconductor said in its statement. This represents less than 5 per cent of its workforce.

Officials at National Semiconductor could not be reached for comment.

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