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Creative Licenses Technology and Patents to Intel

By - Source: Creative Technology Ltd | B 18 comments

Creative signed a $50 million deal to license out GPU tech and sell some of its engineering resources to Intel.

Creative Technology said last week that it has entered into a $50 million USD deal with Intel to license out certain technology and patents from subsidiary ZiiLABS Inc to the CPU giant. As part of the deal, Intel will also acquire "certain engineering resources and assets" related to Creative's UK subsidiary ZiiLABS Limited, formerly known as 3DLABS Limited.

News of the agreement arrives after Creative and Intel partnered to create the Creative Interactive Gesture Camera, an advanced motion sensing camera that can pick up human motion for interaction with games, as seen in September during the Intel Developers Forum (PDF). It's a small, light-weight, low-power camera that is tuned for near-range interactivity on both desktops and laptops, including Ultrabooks. It includes an HD web camera, a QVGA depth sensor and a dual-array microphone.

According to Creative, it will receive $20 million for licensing ZiiLABS' high performance GPU technology to Intel, and it will receive $30 million for transferring the previously mentioned engineering resources and assets from the UK subsidiary. The company said the subsidiary is a design entity that's engaged in the development of various silicon solutions including Creative's own ZMS chips.

"As the next generation advanced media processors beyond 28 nanometers become increasingly complex and expensive to develop, we must find new models to work with our partners and customers to drive continued product innovation," said Sim Wong Hoo, CEO of Creative Technology. "With this announcement, we gain increased flexibility with the ability to partner with multiple semiconductor companies on advanced design and process technologies, allowing us to mitigate risk while maintaining control over the long-term direction of our product portfolio."

Creative's CEO added that moving forward, it will simply be more cost effective for the company to outsource to third party contract chip-layout houses on future advanced chips for its products. Outsourcing will also allow Creative to focus on designing and marketing "more innovative and exciting products for our customers."

The company said on Monday that ZiiLABS will continue to retain ownership of its StemCell media processor technologies and patents. It will also continue to supply and support the ZMS series of chips to its customers, and continue developing devices incorporating the ZiiLABS ZMS-20 and the ZMS-40 media processors.

"Creative will continue to retain ownership of its formidable patent portfolio in the field of 3D graphics and media processing," CEO Sim Wong Hoo added. "We will be engaging in discussions to further monetize this valuable collection of 100 plus patents."

This transaction is expected to be completed in the current quarter ending December 2012, Creative said.


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Top Comments
  • 20 Hide
    N.Broekhuijsen , November 25, 2012 1:08 PM
    Gundam288Well, hello 3 way GPU war!

    I'd much sooner welcome a 2 way CPU war! We're getting closer though.
  • 14 Hide
    ronch79 , November 25, 2012 1:56 PM
    Creative just allowed Intel to suck them dry.
Other Comments
  • 9 Hide
    Gundam288 , November 25, 2012 12:26 PM
    Well, hello 3 way GPU war!
  • 20 Hide
    N.Broekhuijsen , November 25, 2012 1:08 PM
    Gundam288Well, hello 3 way GPU war!

    I'd much sooner welcome a 2 way CPU war! We're getting closer though.
  • -1 Hide
    digiex , November 25, 2012 1:19 PM
    GPU for small form factor like smartphones/tablets. If AMD will not move fast enough with ATI, it will be stuck in the PC era.
  • 14 Hide
    ronch79 , November 25, 2012 1:56 PM
    Creative just allowed Intel to suck them dry.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , November 25, 2012 2:18 PM
    And Now we need a Much more detailed article comparing the Creative Technologs' IP to the other GPU makers IP!
  • 0 Hide
    ddpruitt , November 25, 2012 2:39 PM
    What does Intel want with a 3rd rate chip maker? Last I heard this company hadn't company with anything interesting in a decade or so. Most of there GPU's are used for proprietary SOC systems that haven't made a significant impact. This really isn't Intel's usual cup of tea.
  • 0 Hide
    neoverdugo , November 25, 2012 2:42 PM
    Well, well. So Intel finally realized that they need help to make gpu for their combined solutions.
  • -1 Hide
    ltdementhial , November 25, 2012 3:06 PM
    digiexGPU for small form factor like smartphones/tablets. If AMD will not move fast enough with ATI, it will be stuck in the PC era.


    Are you reading what you're sayin?

    AMD doesn't need to worry (yet) about intel grapich's in fact if they launch in time Steam roller Intel is going to be in a tight spot since its supposed to be AMD first TRUE APU.

    I think that Intel with Haswell coming and the expectation about making those chips very very low in wattage (i read 55 watts for Core i 5 and 65 for i7 somewhere) they made this deal with Creative so their gpu's don't spoil that wattage they trying to get.
  • 5 Hide
    jimmysmitty , November 25, 2012 3:08 PM
    ddpruittWhat does Intel want with a 3rd rate chip maker? Last I heard this company hadn't company with anything interesting in a decade or so. Most of there GPU's are used for proprietary SOC systems that haven't made a significant impact. This really isn't Intel's usual cup of tea.


    You must have forgotten about the X-Fi audio chips which in their day were damn good audio processors and I still use one since compared to onboard they are much better for quality audio.

    Plus Intel has the resources to make it better as well.

    neoverdugoWell, well. So Intel finally realized that they need help to make gpu for their combined solutions.


    I wouldn't say that. The next Atom is supposed to have IB based graphics which would probably kill most SoC graphics for smartphones/tablets.

    Still I am interested to see what Intel is going to use this for.
  • -2 Hide
    halcyon , November 25, 2012 5:52 PM
    Intel saw something they thought was worth it. Must be nice to have that kind of money to just waste.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , November 25, 2012 11:32 PM
    A cutting edge audio company has been integrated by so many, it's worth has been diminished.

    Creative has no real future. There just selling out while they can.

    Simple as that.

    I wonder in six years or so who will know Facebook
  • 1 Hide
    darkavenger123 , November 25, 2012 11:41 PM
    Err..what does Intel wants with Creative? They've been out of the GPU business for so long...and their sound card market were long dead and made redundant with more than good enough integrated realtek codec and competition from ASUS with SONAR series, which almost everyone acknowledge is way better....and Creative Labs lates RECON cards...is a real CON job!
  • 1 Hide
    fuzzion , November 26, 2012 6:43 AM
    ronch79Creative just allowed Intel to suck them dry.


    Creative was dry a long time ago. They do make good quality headphones and speakers that will last around 1 year.
  • 1 Hide
    CaedenV , November 26, 2012 12:38 PM
    ddpruittWhat does Intel want with a 3rd rate chip maker? Last I heard this company hadn't company with anything interesting in a decade or so. Most of there GPU's are used for proprietary SOC systems that haven't made a significant impact. This really isn't Intel's usual cup of tea.

    Creative, for all their flaws, has always been a R&D powerhouse, and leasing patents is pretty much the only thing they do now. It is more likely that Intel developed something, applied for a patent, and then found out that Creative already owns said patent, so Intel is buying up the rights to do what they were planning to do in the first place.
    Intel knows what they are doing with graphics. The only reasons we have not seen bigger Intel GPUs is because of cost and wattage. Cost because they are trying to keep AMD down in the dirt, and because they are beginning to feel pressure from the ARM camp of CPUs. Wattage because of their push for ultrabook design and increasing sales in embedded systems (perhaps their only real growth segment right now as desktop and laptop sales are slowing down), and again beginning for feel pressure from ARM.

    And this is exactly Intel's cup of tea. Intel (and all major tech companies) are always purchasing patent rights. Most of them will never be used, but patents are relatively cheap, and it keeps doors open for possible future products.
  • 0 Hide
    CaedenV , November 26, 2012 12:42 PM
    fuzzionCreative was dry a long time ago. They do make good quality headphones and speakers that will last around 1 year.

    Creative never figured out how to sell anything. They made great sound cards... but the price way way too high. they make decent speakers and headphones... but so do a million other companies who sell them for less. They made great GPUs back in the '90s... but then again, a little overpriced and nobody knew about them. about the only thing they make that is good these days is stuff like the xFi MB2 software suite (which is great by the way), but even that is a little expensive for what it is.

    But Creative does own IP... and that is how they stay in business.
  • 1 Hide
    TeraMedia , November 26, 2012 3:07 PM
    Quote:
    It is more likely that Intel developed something, applied for a patent, and then found out that Creative already owns said patent, so Intel is buying up the rights to do what they were planning to do in the first place.


    this. Only thing that makes sense.
  • 2 Hide
    sykozis , November 26, 2012 3:45 PM
    darkavenger123Err..what does Intel wants with Creative? They've been out of the GPU business for so long...and their sound card market were long dead and made redundant with more than good enough integrated realtek codec and competition from ASUS with SONAR series, which almost everyone acknowledge is way better....and Creative Labs lates RECON cards...is a real CON job!

    Intel doesn't want Creative....they want GPU patents from Ziilabs. The only reason Creative is involved is due to being the parent company of ZiiLabs. In the end, Creative still owns ZiiLabs and retains ownership of all involved patents. Intel is just looking for licensing rights and some "engineering resources". Intel is still struggling to create a competitive graphics processor and any data they can get ill help them...regardless of how old it is.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , November 26, 2012 4:12 PM
    Let's not forget that "Intel graphics" of the past were simply PowerVR designs from Imagination Technologies.