Intel owns rights to the ZMS 40 chip technology now.
Singapore-based Creative Technology announced today that it has signed a US$50 million deal with Intel. The chip giant will pay US$20 million to license certain technologies related to high-performance graphics from Creative's ZiiLabs. Creative will also receive US$30 million for selling its UK subsidiary--ZiiLabs Limited--to Intel.
The UK subsidiary was part of graphics firm 3DLabs, which was acquired by Creative in 2002 for an estimated US$170 million. The move was an attempt by Creative to challenge PC consumer graphics stalwarts--ATI and Nvidia--by merging 3DLabs' expertise in professional-grade graphics with Creative's multimedia business.
Renamed ZiiLabs after the acquisition, the subsidiary has been involved in Creative's ARM-based StemCell processor. Despite the sale, Creative retains ownership of the StemCell chip and related technologies, and will continue to sell its ZMS-branded processors to interested parties.
The company has been trying to attract Chinese OEMs to use its ZMS chips in their tablets (seen here in the Creative HanZpad). However, it doesn't appear to have had much success so far. Known for its Sound Blaster PC audio cards, Creative has been losing money for 14 straight quarters and its trove of patents built over the years may be one of its last few valuable assets.
According to Creative CEO Sim Wong Hoo, the company still holds patents in 3D graphics and media processing and is looking to "further monetize this valuable collection of 100 plus patents".