Sun Names New Head of Microelectronics

Sun has been trying to rebuild its chip division around UltraSPARC T1 and T2 processors.

Sun Microsystems has tapped Mike Splain, a Sun Fellow and 20-year company veteran, to lead its Microelectronics Division, the company announced April 28.

The previous head of the division, David Yen, left the company to take a position at Juniper Networks. Splain had been acting as the head of the division since Sun announced Yen's departure on March 25.

As executive vice president of the Microelectronics Division, Splain will report to CEO Jonathan Schwartz. Before taking over the chip group, Splain was senior vice president and chief technical officer for the Systems Group.

In the past several years, Sun has looked to rebuild its chip division around its UltraSPARC T1 and T2 processors as well as selling its own microprocessor technology to other companies.

The company's next UltraSPARC chip, "Rock," is scheduled for release in 2009.

Sun is also looking to expand its chip division in new ways. On April 25, the company announced that it would acquire the technical assets of Montalvo Systems, a small semiconductor company that had been looking to develop x86 processors to compete again the likes of Advanced Micro Devices and Intel.

Before the acquisition, Montalvo had been developing processors for the mobile and low-power computer market and Sun now hopes that those "assets will enhance the current and future products we are developing," according to a Sun spokesperson.