Date: Monday, February 1st, 1999, 00:00
Amidst much industry speculation Apple is rumored to be in the final stages of either a partial or total acquisition of Raycer Graphics, a graphics chip designer, according to a report on News.com. Sources speculate about whether this purchase means that Apple wants to bring integrated processors and chipsets to the Mac platform or whether Apple is simply just interested in the patent portfolio and design team at Raycer.
The question now is where Apple’s current graphics partner, ATI Technologies, fits into this venture.
If Apple wanted to get into the integrated chipset or processor market, it conceivably would be easier to license technology or co-develop products with its graphics partner ATI Technologies. Apple currently gets most of its 3D graphics chips from this Canadian company, which is the lead supplier in the PC market. Along with making stand alone graphics chips, ATI has launched into the market for integrated chipsets.
Although Racer has not released any products to date, the value of the company is estimated at US$20 million.
Racer is one of a number of graphic chip designers trying to be heard in an overcrowded field. The company’s ambition has been to make high-end 3D graphics for workstations and eventually bring the technology down to PCs. But competition is brutal in the 3D market, and although the company’s products have looked good on paper, commercial success hasn’t materialized.
This could mean a switch in video subsystem partners in the next generation of PowerBook, currently going under the code name Pismo. While Apple has been rumored to be considering the inclusion of the ATI Rage Mobility chip in the new professional PowerBook, the Raycer deal could change all of this in the next 12 to 18 months.