updated 06:04 pm EST, Fri February 7, 2014
Sale or partnership considered for poorly performing IBM department
According to sources familiar with the matter, IBM is pondering a sale of its semiconductor manufacturing facilities and business. The poorly-performing unit makes chips for IBM's own servers, as well as a limited amount of chips for other companies, with the major consumer of the chips being Nintendo, which uses POWER chips in its current Wii-U console.
The POWER family of processors were initially developed in the late 1980s and are still in active development now, nearly 25 years later. In the beginning, they utilized the POWER instruction set architecture (ISA), but that evolved into PowerPC in later generations and then to the current Power Architecture.
IBM still manufactures the POWER-series processor, an older version of which appeared in Apple's PowerPC line, as well as in Microsoft's Xbox 360. IBM's chip manufacturing process generated about $1.75 billion in sales, but dragged on the company's financials to the tune of $130 million after costs.
The Financial Times believes that IBM has assigned investment consultants Goldman Sachs to postulate scenarios for the chip manufacturing division. The company could either sell, or seek a partner for the wing, with GlobalFoundries and TSMC spoken of as potential suitors.