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AOL, Compaq, Sony invest in Transmeta

Chip startup raises £43m from consumer-electronics and PC giants

Nine new computer-industry heavyweights have announced investments in Transmeta, the microprocessor startup that includes Linux creator Linus Torvalds among its engineers.

The new backers, bringing in a total of $72m (about £43m) of capital, are America Online, Compal Electronics, Compaq Computer, First International Computer, Gateway, Phoenix Technologies, Samsung, Sony and Quanta Computer.

Existing Transmeta investors, Soros Fund Management, Paul Allen's Vulcan Ventures, Van Wagoner Capital Management, Invemed Associates, Tudor Investment Corporation, Five Points Capital, and Deutsche Bank, contributed $16m for a total of $88m. The investments were part of a round of financing completed Monday.

In January Transmeta introduced the first two members of its Crusoe family of low-power, microprocessors: the 333MHz and 400MHz TM3120 and the 500MHz and 700MHz TM5400.

The chips have been in development for five years and are designed for notebook PCs and mobile Internet access devices.

PC Week US contributed to this report.

Crusoe -- are you yearning or yawning? Stephen Vaughn-Nichols reckons Transmeta's crusoe chip-family announcement was one big yawn? Oh, from a techie-geek point of view, there were a lot of cool ideas -- a processor with virtually no onboard instructions. Go to AnchorDesk UK to read the news comment.

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