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IBM Plans Customizable Microprocessor
Apr 1, 2004
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IBM has outlined plans to openly collaborate and build a community of innovation around its Power microprocessor architecture used in a vast range of products enterprise systems and supercomputers to games and embedded devices. The move could have major implications for computers and the electronics industry at large.

This unprecedented step by IBM is designed to create a platform for innovation that enables researchers and electronics makers to add the features and capabilities that will drive new devices and applications. The move recognizes the fact that it is the final chip designs—more than the underlying architecture—where innovation is taking place to create entire systems in silicon, not just electronics components.

Also, for the first time, IBM demonstrated its upcoming POWER5 microprocessor running multiple operating systems in virtual micropartitions. POWER5, which is IBM's own high-end design using the Power Architecture, will drive future versions of IBM's industry-leading server and storage systems. The PowerPC implementation of Power Architecture will continue to serve the OEM community.

At an event called "Power Everywhere," IBM described how the Power Architecture is gaining momentum, including several major new licensing agreements, customers, products and technology demonstrations. Most notable were new IBM programs that encouraged other companies, business partners, and university researchers to use the technology to create a wide variety of chips that can power a diverse set of electronics products.

Sony has disclosed that it has licensed the Power Architecture from IBM. L-3 Communications has also announced it has signed an agreement with IBM that could be worth as much as U.S. $80 million during the next 5 years. L-3 said it is working with IBM on several fronts, including custom chips and other ways to leverage Power Architecture designs in defense, aerospace and homeland security applications.

Additionally, the Global Brands Manufacture (GBM) Group, based in China, has also announced a multi-million dollar agreement with IBM to explore using Power Architecture technology in its consumer products, including desktop and notebook computers, DVD players, and digital cameras.

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