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Intel to stop Giga chip line

Posted: 17 May 2006 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Loring Wirbel? Intel? Giga A/S?

Struggling Intel Corp. will halt future development of optical physical-layer products developed by Giga A/S, a Copenhagen company Intel acquired in 2000 for $1.25 billion.

The phasing out of clock/data recovery chips and electronic dispersion-compensation chips by the end of 2006 could mean the eventual closure of the Copenhagen facility, though a spokesperson said "the status of the employees in Denmark has not been decided."

The move comes a week after Intel closed its Glasgow, Scotland design center that formerly belonged to Level One Communications Inc., and indicates the lessened focus at Intel on high-speed analog interfaces for communication products. Giga used a high-speed bipolar process to offer adaptive equalizer and EDC products at 2.5 and 10Gbps.

The company, however, is still leveraging the Giga acquisition. A small Giga facility in Braunschweig, Germany was expanded significantly earlier this year to serve as a research center for dual-core microprocessor architectures.

The moves are not related to Intel's recent reorganization, the spokesperson said, but to an earlier effort to realign communication product groups to more directly serve desktop and server markets. While the company is halting development of mixed-signal chips used in optical transceiver modules, it will remain heavily involved in developing and marketing modules that incorporate Intel's planar optical products developed in Fremont, Calif. and nearby East Bay research facilities.

Nevertheless, a source, formerly with Giga, said the phasing out of the Denmark facility was indirectly related to optical modules. "The primary reason for the closure is spelled XFP," the source said, referring to a 10Gbit optical module commonly used in metro-area and access edge communication systems. "One 10Gbit module MSA (multi-source agreement) standard was supposed to be a winner over all others, and when XFP didn't show explosive growth, that changed the economics for the Giga development folks."

- Loring Wirbel
EE Times




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