Infineon, Agere Systems and Motorola Form New Company to Develop and License Digital Signal Processor Technology

Jun 18, 2002 | Technology Media

Joint Press Release: Agere Systems, Infineon Technologies and Motorola

StarCore, LLC, a separate venture, will license DSP technology used in communications systems, wireless phones and consumer electronics products

ATLANTA, Ga., June 18, 2002 – Infineon Technologies AG (FSE/NYSE: IFX) has joined forces with Agere Systems Inc. (NYSE: AGR.A, AGR.B) and Motorola, Inc. (NYSE: MOT) to establish StarCore®, LLC, a new company focused on developing and marketing digital signal processor (DSP) technologies that can be easily and cost-effectively adapted for widespread use in new communications and consumer products.

StarCore, LLC will develop and license easily scalable DSP “cores,” based on the established StarCore™ DSP architecture. The company is expected to begin operations late summer 2002, subject to regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions. The company will be headquartered in Austin, Texas, with a subsidiary office in Tel Aviv, Israel. Initial lead customers will be Agere, Infineon and Motorola, and StarCore, LLC will market its products to semiconductor manufacturers and communications equipment providers worldwide.

“The central goal of the new StarCore is to proliferate world-class DSP core technologies through open licensing,” said Thomas Lantzsch, chief executive officer of StarCore, LLC. “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. We will start business from day one with strong product and technology expertise and an existing customer base. We aim to fundamentally change the competitive playing field through licensing and wide availability of DSP cores. These cores will help manufacturers of communications systems and semiconductor devices deliver higher levels of performance and miniaturization while accelerating time to market and lowering 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. Lantzsch brings 20 years of semiconductor industry experience to the role, including 12 years with Motorola where he developed a broad background of global experience in operations, marketing and sales.

StarCore, LLC combines resources from Agere’s and Motorola’s StarCore Joint Design Center, and Infineon’s CARMEL™ DSP core design and licensing business, and each firm will license StarCore cores for new chip designs. The technology development and licensing mission of the new company marks a significant evolution of the StarCore Joint Design Center, which was founded in 1998 to jointly design DSP cores that would be developed into DSP chips marketed only by Agere and Motorola. The new StarCore enjoys the strategic advantage of a technology and customer base that immediately establishes a strong competitive position compared to other DSP licensing companies.

DSP technology plays a critical role in wireless communications and many other key growth segments of the semiconductor industry. Electronic functions such as voice compression and voice recognition, digital music and video compression, and other broadband communications all benefit from the use of DSP. This broad range of applications contributes to a forecast compound annual DSP growth rate of 27 percent through 2006, according to Forward Concepts, a DSP market research firm.

"The combination of the new company's business model and world class technology offerings represent a dramatic change in the industry landscape," said Will Strauss, president of DSP market watcher Forward Concepts. "Backed by three leaders in DSP and communications, the new company has a great opportunity to proliferate the StarCore architectures to a broad cross section of semiconductor manufacturers, original equipment manufacturers and original design manufacturers.”

"DSP has become the technology driver for the semiconductor industry,” Strauss added, “because without DSP there would be no access to the Internet, no multimedia, and no digital wireless. Consequently, StarCore's future seems bright indeed."

A DSP is a specialized semiconductor chip that performs high-speed mathematical computations for processing and converting voice, data, and video signals. Designers of silicon chips use DSP cores as building blocks. They are connected at the chip level to a number of peripheral systems, memory blocks and other circuitry to define a complete DSP chip solution.

StarCore, LLC will design its DSP cores with the goal of enabling the creation of DSP components that can easily be upgraded, redesigned, and produced while reducing the amount of complex and time-consuming redesign work needed for each new chip implementation. As a result, licensees of StarCore DSP cores will more easily and quickly get a DSP-based product to market.

Companies that license StarCore DSP cores are expected to gain numerous benefits from the new company’s open business model and DSP technology offerings, including:

  • availability of a broad range of third-party DSP software and DSP development tools, including advanced DSP C Language compiler technology, which will contribute to reduced product development costs and accelerate time-to-market

  • flexibility of a scalable core that enables fast and easy customization of DSP chip solutions to exactly meet price and performance requirements, with resulting cost, size and power consumption advantages; and

  • access to powerful DSP technology that can readily be manufactured using various semiconductor process technologies


Scalability of the DSP core technology is a key feature for chip and system designers. For example, StarCore licensees will be able to use the same DSP core in the design of 2.5G and 3G mobile handsets, as well as wireless base stations. Typical system design approaches utilize different DSP technologies in handsets and base stations. This requires higher investments in software and systems development to support different architectures.

StarCore products will be based on an innovative design approach, which creates a virtually seamless flow that extends from the core design team to licensee’s engineering groups. StarCore also will offer a broad range of value-added services to licensees, creating advantages by serving as a central resource for DSP technologies.

Engineering design teams look to scalability for compatibility across different products and technologies, and efficient evolution between product generations. The StarCore methodology creates ready-to-use cores that allow customers to achieve these goals while significantly lowering R&D costs. Additionally, the scalability of the StarCore DSP cores benefits licensees by protecting investments in software.

Summarizing the competitive advantage of the new company, StarCore, LLC CEO Tom Lantzch said: “Agere’s and Motorola’s leadership in the DSP market and experience in creating the StarCore architecture, coupled with Infineon’s know-how in developing core technology for licensing, positions StarCore, LLC for rapid success. Drawing on the collective expertise of all three companies in complex system-on-a-chip integration, StarCore, LLC provides the foundation to create a broad portfolio of open DSP core technologies that stimulate profitable business opportunities for DSP semiconductor manufacturers and communications equipment providers.”

EDITOR NOTE: More information on StarCore, LLC, including an on-line press kit with materials related to today’s announcement, can be found at the company’s web site, www.starcore-dsp.com.

NOTE: This release contains forward-looking statements about future business activity based on information available to Agere, Infineon, Motorola and StarCore as of the date hereof. StarCore's actual results and operations could differ materially from the results stated or implied by such forward-looking statements due to a number of risks and uncertainties. These risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, trends in demand and prices for semiconductors and semiconductor intellectual property generally, customer demand for StarCore's products and services in particular, the success of StarCore's development efforts, control of costs and expenses and the availability of funds for planned expansion efforts, the actions of competitors, price and product competition, keeping pace with technological change, dependence on new product development, reliance on major customers and suppliers, general industry and market conditions and general domestic and international economic conditions. Each of Agere, Infineon, Motorola and StarCore disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

CONTACTS:


Edith Torkiya
Weber Shandwick
972-830-2504
etorkiya@webershandwick.com

Charles James Hartley
Agere Systems
+1 908 508 8226
cjhartley@agere.com

Steven SloanMotorola, Inc.
+41 227 991329
steven.sloan@motorola.com

Information Number

INFXX200206.107e