T-Platforms, the parent company of Russian chipmaker Baikal Electronics, has declared bankruptcy and is auctioning off its assets, including intellectual property related to Baikal processors, one of a few designers of CPUs and system-on-chips from Russia, reports CNews. According to Kommersant, the total value of these assets is estimated at $5 million.
T-Platforms, a Russian company with ambitions to build exascale supercomputers and develop domestic CPUs, was officially declared bankrupt in October 2022. T-Platforms had been among the few Russian companies capable of producing supercomputers that could compete on a global scale. T-Platform's bankruptcy proceedings have led to the auctioning of various assets, including the intellectual property, patents, and shares of Baikal Electronics. The IP is related to the development of Baikal processors, which rely on the Arm and MIPS instruction set architectures.
The technology being auctioned is outdated, to say the least. The Baikal-M1 processor, for instance, is based on eight outdated Arm Cortex-A57 cores operating at 1.50 GHz and outfitted with an 8MB L3 cache that is accompanied by an eight-cluster Arm Mali-T628 GPU with two display pipelines. TSMC made the SoC on its 28nm fabrication process. Meanwhile, Baikal's 48-core Baikal-S SoC for servers has never entered mass production. Since both processors are now obsolete, Baikal's assets have been valued at 484 million rubles ($5 million). The auction is scheduled for September 26, 2023.
The current owners of Baikal Electronics have no plans to reclaim the patents or developments. This is perhaps because Baikal used to develop CPUs and SoCs that were subsequently produced by TSMC, and the latter can no longer work with Russian companies due to export curbs imposed by the Taiwanese government following Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine in late February 2022.
The future of Baikal Electronics remains uncertain. The company has not announced new processors for several years, and production was halted in February 2022 due to sanctions. Despite the outdated technology and market skepticism, the auction is proceeding, and it remains to be seen who will acquire these assets and for what purpose.