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VIA Reportedly Exiting Its Motherboard Chipset Business

The company will compete more with Intel and AMD to build x86 processors for the ultramobile PC market.
VIA Technologies reportedly is getting out of the motherboard chipset business and will concentrate its resources on the x86 processor market dominated by Intel.

Richard Brown, VP of corporate marketing for VIA in Taiwan, told Custom PC that it saw no future in building chipsets for third parties, such as Intel and Advanced Micro Devices.

"One of the main reasons we originally moved into the x86 processor business was because we believed that ultimately the third-party chipset market would disappear, and we would need to have the capability to provide a complete platform," Brown told the tech site. "That has indeed come to pass."

Brown said Intel makes the "vast majority" of motherboard chipsets for its own processors, and AMD is moving in the same direction.

One of the areas VIA is targeting with its x86 processors is the ultramobile PC market. The company in May launched a line of low-power processors for computers ranging in size from thin and light laptops to mini-notebooks.

The Nano line, based on VIA's 64-bit Isaiah CPU architecture, builds on the company's C7 processor line, but offers as much as four times the performance within the same power range, the Taiwanese company said. VIA designs the chips and contracts manufacturing with Fujitsu. VIA also has released its own reference design for mini-notebooks, an emerging category of PCs with screen sizes less than 10 inches and costing less than $500. Analysts expect the lightweight, ultraportable devices to catch on with some consumers, particularly businesspeople who spend large amounts of time on the road and students strapped for cash.

Worldwide shipments of mini-notebooks are expected to increase from fewer than 500,000 units last year to more than 9 million in 2012, according to IDC. Because of the low average selling prices, revenue will be less than $3 billion.