HTC buys S3 Graphics from VIA

Probably more of a patent defence move
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Taiwanese mobile phone giant HTC buys veteran graphics chip designer S3 Graphics in a deal with $300 million.

S3 Graphics used to be active several years ago in the PC desktop category with a range of graphics products such as Virge and Chrome, however the firm hasn't been anything near as active of late.

One of S3's sources of revenue is a patented technique to compress video textures. Technology that several other graphics vendors license. One potential motivation for the purchase is to aid in the ongoing intellectual property disputes ongoing in the mobile industry.

However the acquisition of S3 seems more like a family affair with HTC Chairperson Cher Wang heading up both HTC and VIA, the firm HTC acquired the S3 Graphics business unit from. In fact Wang's husband is Wen Chi Chen, the CEO of VIA.

In the deal VIA retains a licence for S3 Graphics technology which the firm uses in a range of processors.

"The transaction would allow Via to monetize a portion of its rich IP portfolio, yet retain its graphics capabilities to support the development and sale of its processors and chipsets," said VIA veep Tzu-mu Lin.

It's not known if HTC have any intention of using the S3 Graphics technology in upcoming handsets. Presently the firm doesn't design any of the system-on-chip components but rather chooses to use those from firms such as Qualcomm.

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