PC audio chip makers at crossroads

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PC audio chip makers at crossroads

With margins in the commodity PC space declining, PC audio chip vendors find themselves at a crossroads.

The increasing trend toward using software-based audio technology as a means to reduce the cost of PC platforms has put pressure on traditional players in the PC audio market, such as Yamaha Systems Technology. The company recently cancelled its YMF744 digital PC audio controller and two related add-on cards.

Philips Semiconductors is planning to shift its audio chip strategy in February, while audio silicon designer ESS Technology has licensed a 32-bit MIPS core as part of its diversification effort.

ESS plans to develop system-on-a-chip ICs that will target the next generation of consumer entertainment appliances. Philips has yet to divulge details of its new audio device focus.

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