Transmeta Ousts CEO Allen

Low-power chip designer Transmeta Corp. fired chief executive Mark Allen on Tuesday after only seven months on the job, citing the company's recent poor performance.

Low-power chip designer Transmeta Corp. fired chief executive Mark Allen on Tuesday after only seven months on the job, citing the companys recent poor performance.

Company Chairman Murray Goldman, who joined Transmeta in 1998 after retiring from Motorola Inc.s semiconductor products division, will now also serve as the chipmakers CEO.

In addition, Transmeta said it had appointed Hugh Barnes, a member of the companys board, as president and chief operating officer. Barnes joined the company in 1998 after retiring from Compaq Computer Corp., where he served as chief technical officer.

Allen, who previously served as president and COO, was promoted to CEO in March to replace company founder Dave Ditzel, who was appointed vice chairman and chief technology officer. At the time, the company explained the move was made to free Ditzel from day-to-day management requirements so he could focus on product development, his area of expertise. Before founding Transmeta, Ditzel was chief technical officer at Sun Microsystems Inc.s Microelectronics division.

But Transmeta this year has been particularly hard hit by an ongoing PC industry slump. Last week, the company warned that revenue for the just completed quarter would be $5 million, less than half the $10.5 million it posted for the previous quarter.

Transmeta, based in Santa Clara, Calif., created a stir in the computer industry in early 2000 when it unveiled its first low-power processor, the Crusoe, that the company had been quietly developing for five years. The processors energy efficient design was targeted for use in the mobile PCs and new Internet appliances, where its power savings could offer extended battery life compared to existing PC processors.

But within months, market leaders Intel Corp. and Advanced Micro Devices Inc. responded to the potential threat to their market share by introducing several new energy-efficient mobile processors of their own. Their quick response effectively cemented their hold on U.S. computer makers, spurring Transmeta to focus on overseas markets.

In addition, Transmetas hopes to have its products serve as the basis for a projected new wave of Internet appliances, such as Web pads, were dashed as computer manufactures scrapped plans to develop such devices due to a lack of consumer demand.

While Transmeta found success in Japan, getting its chips designed into ultralight weight notebooks by Sony Corp., Fujitsu Ltd., Hitachi Ltd. and NEC Corp., sales in recent months have fallen well below expectations.