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Me Without You: SiS and Via Technologies Make No Show at CeBIT

It is not a news that companies like ATI/AMD, Intel Corp. and Nvidia Corp. have been attacking the chipset market tremendously aggressively in the recent years. The results of the assault are pretty clear at the moment: both Silicon Integrated Systems Corp. and Via Technologies are basically out of the business.

Via Technologies has never publicly acknowledged that its chipset division is loosing market share as a result of strategic alliance between AMD and Nvidia, legal dispute with Intel Corp. early in the decade and, perhaps even more importantly, the lack of real innovation. In fact, Via is responsible for the introduction and eventual success of the original DDR memory as well as success of AMD’s Athlon XP microprocessors. But now the company that used to be a major chipset vendor sees its sales dropping every month.

SiS Corp. was never a major developer of chipsets, however, quite a lot of mainboard manufacturers used the company’s chipsets for entry-level products. In fact, SiS core-logic sets were relatively popular in the low-end due to low price and attempts of the chipset designer to enter higher-margin high-end core-logic business have failed. As a result, SiS once found itself being unable to bring truly innovative products onto the market on time.

Via has been absent at CeBIT in 2007 and it was not a surprise that the company decided not to attend CeBIT 2008 as well. But SiS was here a year ago and it was expected that the firm will have a booth at the trade-show this year too. However, SiS did not show up to demonstrate its latest products. More importantly, almost no mainboard makers showcased motherboards powered by chipsets from SiS and Via, which is a clear indicator that their interest towards those core-logic sets is very low these days.

ATI, graphics product group of Advanced Micro Devices, Nvidia and Intel Corp. have developed chipsets with built-in DirectX 10.1-compliant graphics cores as well as other necessary features (e.g., high-definition video decoding engine), whereas neither SiS nor Via are capable of offering anything similar.

Without truly competitive products, we do not know whether the two Taiwan-based chipset developers will survive, will be acquired like ULi, or will refocus their business. Time will tell what happens, but mainboard makers are pretty skeptical about these two chipset designers’ future already now.

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