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Graphics Patents Hardware

HTC To Buy S3 Graphics From VIA 90

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the patent-warfare dept.
jones_supa writes "The Taiwanese smartphone manufacturer HTC has bought the graphics department of VIA Technologies, S3 Graphics. This $300 million dollar deal brings HTC the ownership of new patents and graphics visualization technologies. 'In addition to its traditional markets in PCs and game consoles, S3 Graphics Texture Compression technology is increasingly being applied to smartphones and tablets, HTC said.'" It appears that HTC will be turning the tables on at least Microsoft and extracting royalties from them for a change.
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HTC To Buy S3 Graphics From VIA

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  • yay more cocaine for htc exec !

  • "$300 million dollar deal" - How much is a dollar dollar anyway?
    • by Moryath (553296)

      It's kinda like a NuYen. Or a DoubleDollar. Or a Spacebuck.

      And of course those are all meaningless because as Ron Paul says, we need to go back to the Gold-Pressed Latinum Standard to fight inflation!

      Now get me my teabag-infused tritanium cap. I have a tea party rally to get to!

      • by Lumpy (12016)

        you get a +1 Shadowrun reference!

    • by CastrTroy (595695)
      A dollar dollar is roughly equlivalent to 12 bitcoins. Personally, I like the way the French do it. Write the $ after the number, that way it's more consistent with the way we write all our other units. Why I'm typing, I usually end up having to go back to put the dollar sign in after because you say the "dollar" part after the numbers.
      • We also have a much more logical big-endian way to write dates: 31/1/2000, as opposed to that ridiculous random-endian from the US !

        • by Anonymous Coward

          a more sane way to write dates is 2000/01/31.

        • That's a little-endian date. The least significant number (the day) comes first and the most significant (the year) comes last. ISO dates are big endian. US dates are middle endian, as popularised by the PDP-11.
          • ooops, you're right.

            I meant: that, too: the end is at the beginning. damn yankees.

          • by Sulphur (1548251)

            That's a little-endian date. The least significant number (the day) comes first and the most significant (the year) comes last. ISO dates are big endian. US dates are middle endian, as popularised by the PDP-11.

            Then it goes to 11 endian.

        • by Kjella (173770)

          Unfortunately when you make it a datetime, the European order is bad and American worse. For sanity and sorting yyyy-mm-dd hh:mm:ss is the best way, of course with a 24 hour clock not am/pm. Unfortunately it works great for an ISO standard, not so much for talking. If I say "We'll meet on the 23rd" then implicitly that means the 23 of this month, we don't start on the macro or the microlevel but somewhere in the middle. After all we don't start all our mail addresses with:

          Milky Way
          The "Sun" system
          3rd planet

          • syntax error at ./#36686422 line 10, near "{"
            Execution of ./#36686422 aborted due to compilation errors.
          • by ags1 (1883204)
            Sun is a generic term for a star. I believe our star is called Sol. If I am not mistaken, the planets are named after the star and in order of distance from the star. IE earth would be Sol 3.
            • by Carewolf (581105)

              Sol is Latin for sun. Just like Earth is called The Earth, Sun is called The Sun. Very clever naming huh?

    • by atisss (1661313)
      That's probably square dollars. Imagine a line with 300 million 1 dollar banknotes on one side, then on each banknote put another 300M-1 banknotes on top :)
  • S3 ViRGE the world's first graphics decelerator.

    At least, it had its own version of MDK.

    • For 3D games the ViRGE sucked, but the ViRGE and the Trio with a VBE 3.0 driver made 2D games rock out.

      (Granted the games had to support VBE3.0...)

      • by BLToday (1777712)

        I had the Trio64 on VLB with a 486 DX4-120. I could actually play Wing Commander 3/4 (except for the ground missions) at a decent framerate.

        • by Luyseyal (3154)

          Ugh, VLB [wikipedia.org]. That thing was a monster. I always felt I was going to destroy a board just trying to get it into the sockets.

          -l

      • by hairyfeet (841228)

        They also made great little basic desktop boards, with low power and low noise. I sold one of those a couple of months back, one of the old Trio S3s. It just goes to show that being a pack rat isn't always a bad thing when it comes to tech.

        I had a customer whose little Win2K bookkeeping box blew the onboard and he needed it back up like yesterday. The only PCI graphics card I had at the time was an old S3 pull so I told him I'd be happy to let him have that for $15 ($5 for the part, $10 to put it in and gi

    • by ksd1337 (1029386)

      Hey, I'm typing this on a PIII with an S3 ViRGE!

      It's perfectly usable for everyday tasks. I never tried any gaming though ('tis a PIII with 384MB RAM.)

  • by Sponge Bath (413667) on Thursday July 07, 2011 @12:48PM (#36684532)
    Maybe a parrot pining for the fjords?
  • In related news (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kimvette (919543) on Thursday July 07, 2011 @12:59PM (#36684670) Homepage Journal

    In a related story, S3 apparently still exists!

  • The S3 Texture compression algorithm is used in OpenGL and Direct X. So now anyone who implements either of those APIs will be paying HTC.
    • More importantly, anyone who implemented either of those two APIs to date already has a license agreement with S3, which would just carry over.

      In case of Microsoft in particular, since S3TC is the format for textures in D3D and XNA, and has been for a long time now, I would be very surprised if there wasn't a perpetual, or at least long-term, license.

      • by MrHanky (141717)

        Not quite. There's an unlicensed s3tc implementation for Mesa not ordinarily distributed in binary by most distributions, and of course not paid for either. It will be interesting to see whether HTC bothers with a transferable and non-exclusive exemption. There are plenty of games that don't work properly under Linux without the s3tc extension.

        • My understanding is that this would be unused when any hardware-accelerated implementation (be it proprietary or open source) is used?

          Anyway, S3 probably didn't bother because they couldn't expect to get anything there in the first place. But it's certain that all commercial players do pay - Microsoft probably does for D3D and tooling, NVidia does for its hardware and drivers (including Linux ones, I suppose) etc.

          • by MrHanky (141717)

            No, the standard Mesa drivers (even when hardware acceleration is in place) simply do not support s3tc. The reason why S3 "didn't bother" with the other one is that it's mainly distributed as source code or through unofficial channels. Distros won't touch it due to the patent situation.

            From the Phoronix forums, I see that HTC has a history of open source hostility (even refusing to release kernel source code), so I don't expect anything to change.

    • by Creepy (93888)

      Yes - DX6 texture compression is S3, as is GL_ARB_texture_compression for OpenGL 1.3 (prior to that it was EXT and ARB, which are essentially optional). In fact, this has been one of the major impediments for creating open source OpenGL drivers, because it is core now (and therefore required).

      I personally find it highly derivative on prior art, but I found the same thing about most GPU implementations of Navier-Stokes (fluid dynamics) equations and have yet to hear of any of those being overturned. I guess

  • bubye (Score:2, Informative)

    by TopSpin (753)

    According to Wikipedia:

    S3 Graphics, Ltd is an American company specializing in graphics chipsets.

    There goes a successful purveyor of mobile GPU technology off to Taiwan... I wonder if this is what Andy Grove meant when he claimed [slashdot.org] that abandoning today's commodity manufacturing can lock you out of tomorrow's emerging industry.

    I'll bet Samsung wouldn't mind owning Tegra.

    • Re:bubye (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 07, 2011 @01:22PM (#36684936)

      Why don't you try to learn what the fuck you're talking about before you post. First off, S3 doesn't make mobile GPUs, and near as I can tell they never had. Recently, their only product has been northbridge chipsets for VIA motherboards and I think a couple of really low end discreet cards. Second, it's a serious stretch to call them successful in any sense of the word, if they hadn't been bought by VIA they would have gone out of business some time ago. Third, and more to the point of your retarded post, they already were Taiwanese based, as VIA is a Taiwanese company. So one Taiwanese company sold a shitty division to another Taiwanese company, hard to make a statement about US manufacturing based on that.

      • by NovaX (37364)

        S3 bought NumberNine, which was a pioneer in high-end 2D graphics. I bet S3 has a large enough patent portfolio to have some beneficial defensive patents.

    • by gl4ss (559668)
      they're not so succesful. virge's anyone? they basically owned the low end graphics card market for a while and fucked it up, savage was supposed to bring them back with it's groundbreaking texture compression, which was basically to save money on texture memory(back when voodoo2's shipped with 8mb the texture compression was quite relevant). it gives htc some patents though - too bad actually the texture compression isn't that relevant anymore - not on desktop and not on mobile. and samsung would like to o
      • by tlhIngan (30335)

        something they could use on xbox? I guess texture packing is relevant on the xbox thanks to it's ridiculously low memory

        The original xbox is deprecated, and the Xbox360 has an extremely low 512MB of shared (system+GPU) RAM. The PS3 at least has a whopping 256MB of RAM for the Cell, and 256MB GDDR RAM for the RSX. Yes, the Xbox360 really needs texture compression much more than the PS3.

        Mobile 3D could make sure of texture compression, then again, with high end phones having 1GB of shared memory, it too isn't

  • VIA? LOL (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Smart move because VIA is known for such outstanding quality.

    • by Osgeld (1900440)

      I would take a VIA chipset over this balls hot and drag ass slow nvidia thing that uses yet another fan in my pc

      • by archen (447353)

        At least nvidia stuff CAN be stable if you strap a leaf blower to it. VIA couldn't make something as simple as a door jam that work properly.

        • by Osgeld (1900440)

          when I was shopping for a motherboard a couple years ago I had the choice of nvidia or ATI, neither are VIA

    • by mjwx (966435)

      Smart move because VIA is known for such outstanding quality.

      But HTC is known for it's outstanding quality.

      So HTC brings their QA and manufacturing processes to the technology they've just purchased from VIA...

      That's how acquisitions are meant to work, the seller benefits from a cash injection, the buyer benefits from being able to make a new product and the customer benefits from better products.

  • Is there some sort of back licensing of the graphics tech and patents from HTC to VIA? I thought the future is all about integration of CPU with GPU. VIA already had the graphics backend, not the greatest but it was there. Or are they slimming down to sell to someone like nvidia?

    The VIA Nano CPU wasn't bad, it was sufficient for most workloads. The weakness of the VIA solutions have been the graphics drivers, they're ancient implementation. You can feel the late 90s in them from limited resolution suppor

    • by yuhong (1378501)

      Is there some sort of back licensing of the graphics tech and patents from HTC to VIA?

      I think they are. There has to be as S3's graphics technology are in VIA's chipsets.

  • So will HTC's smart phones get VESA3 support, terrible OpenGL, an annoying "InControl99" panel and the most unstable crashiest video drivers on the planet?
  • As $subj? What is a business reason for collecting one time money, if they have a chicken still producing eggs?
    • by gl4ss (559668)
      the trick is that they managed to convince htc that the team(they gotta have some guys left still, but maybe ) and the patents are relevant in a big way - though then again 300 million for htc right now isn't that lot-. if they asked for big money from everyone on who's cards it was possible to do texture decompression on gpu side, then yeah, they'd get good money, but the gpu's have changed in design to be more flexible, so that you could just add that (decompression on the fly)code on sw you run on the ca
  • It appears that HTC will be turning the tables on at least Microsoft and extracting royalties from them for a change.

    Based on what? If S3 had something that they could be "extracting royalties" from they would have already been doing so. Also Microsoft could have already licensed those patents and HTC won't be doing anything at all. I know, that just doesn't fit an anti-Microsoft spin, though.

  • I thought it said $3 Graphics!
  • Since S3TC is part of DirectX would Microsoft have to pay fees?

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