Internet Machines Starts Anew
Now called IMC Semiconductor, the firm is escaping into the PC and server business. Founder Frank Knuettel has replaced fellow founder Chris Hoogenboom as CEO; Hoogenboom remains chairman but is out of the company's day-to-day planning.
The shift began early last year, as IMC began seeking ways to generate revenue while waiting for the high-end network processor market to develop. The company found refuge in PCI Express, a chip-to-chip I/O standard being pushed by Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC) and others as a next-generation alternative to the peripheral component interconnect (PCI) bus (see Internet Machines Picks PCI Express).
By October, it became clear the network processor business wouldn't sustain itself. IMC shelved the products -- a network processor, a switch fabric, and a traffic manager -- and trimmed headcount to less than 30. The company employed 120 in April 2001, according to Silicon Strategies.
The company has retained the engineers who worked on IMC's original chips, Knuettel says. The PCI Express work is similar to IMC's switch-fabric efforts, in that both require packing large numbers of serializer-deserializers (SerDes) onto a chip. "We had already wrung out a lot of the issues related to the art of incorporating a large number of SerDes," Knuettel says.
IMC's network processor efforts targeted 10-Gbit/s, a high-end gambit that's failed for many a chip startup (see Fast-Chip Flees the Market and Cogni-Gone?). Founded in 2000, the company raised $81 million, including $40.3 million from chip maker Exar Corp. (Nasdaq: EXAR). The value of Exar's investment had dropped to $5 million by September 2002, according to SEC documents (see Internet Machines Ships (At Last) and Exar Teams Up on 10-Gig Chips).
— Craig Matsumoto, Senior Editor, Light Reading