VIA Technologies is rumored to have started shifting its x86 CPU technologies and related personnel to its newly formed IC design joint venture with a China government-owned investment firm, according to market watchers, adding that VIA recently notified clients that it will stop supplying x86 processors temporarily.
VIA declined to comment about market rumors and pointed out that its x86 CPU business is still operating.
The joint venture was announced in early 2014 with VIA owning a 20% stake in the company. The market watchers pointed out that if the rumor is true, it would mean VIA's x86 processor platform has officially walked into history, and the China government will be able to get hold x86 technologies to develop related products.
VIA has been pushing its CPU products in China for many years, mainly targeting the white-box market. With the new move, VIA may no longer release processors under its name and will instead use the name of the joint venture in the future, the market watchers said.
Because VIA's x86 CPU business is licensed by Intel, moving related resources to a new joint venture is expected to attract Intel's attention. However, the chip giant may not be able to do much because Intel reached an agreement with the US's Fair Trade Commission (FTC) in 2010 to not interfere with competition in the CPU and chipset markets, and extend its licensing of PCI Express to VIA by at least another six years. Intel is also unlikely to wish to offend the China investment firm, which has support from the China government, the market watchers analyzed.