Apple to Join Acorn, VLSI in Chip-Making Venture
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Apple Computer, chip maker VLSI Technology and British computer vendor Acorn Computers announced Tuesday that they had formed a joint venture company to design and market computer chips based on reduced instruction set computing (RISC) technology.
The new venture, based in Cambridge, England, will further develop chip technology that was pioneered by Acorn. Apple has invested about $3 million (roughly 1.5 million pounds) for a 30% interest in the company, dubbed Advanced Risc Machines Ltd. (ARM), but the exact ownership stake of VLSI and Acorn was not disclosed. Additional partners are being sought, and ARM will also try to get funding from one of several European Community technology development programs.

Acorn, which is 80% owned by the Italian computer giant Olivetti, has over the past five years developed a series of RISC microprocessors--or computers-on-a-chip--primarily for use in its own personal computer products. RISC dramatically improves computer performance by cutting down the number of individual instructions a machine must execute to carry out a given function, and many regard it as the key to a broad range of future computers.

But while RISC chips from such well-known firms as Sun Microsystems, International Business Machines and Hewlett-Packard have been designed to improve the performance of…
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