Lucent and Motorola are to combine their R&D efforts in the digital signal processor (DSP) area to challenge market leader Texas Instruments.
The two chip giants will merge their current projects in next-generation DSP core technology in time to take advantage of an expected explosion in appliances based on DSPs. They plan to develop a unified architecture that will span real-time embedded control, low-power terminals and multichannel devices.
Texas Instruments is the market leader in the DSP industry with a 30 per cent share. The combined share of its rivals is roughly equal.
The two companies will cross-license each other's latest DSP cores - Lucent's DSP56800 and DSP16000 and Motorola's M.Core microcontroller.
The companies will use the architecture to develop their own future processors.
A joint design centre called StarCore, due to open in Atlanta, is expected to house 100 Motorola and Lucent staff initially, with an investment of between $200,000 and $250,000 per employee. The facility is scheduled to open in Q3 this year and the first core design is expected by mid-1999.
One analyst referred to the announcement as 'unprecedented' and a 'dramatic event in the DSP industry'.
John Hughes, MD of Lucent Microelectronics Group in the EMEA region, said the partnership is to combine R&D efforts rather than save dollars.
'The issue is to combine innovation,' he said.
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