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12 April 2011
Xilinx, a company best known for its programmable logic devices, has purchased Belfast, Northern Ireland, start-up Omiino for an undisclosed amount.  The start-up develops silicon intellectual property for packet-optical transport network (P-OTN) applications at speeds up to 100Gbps.
 
Omiino uses field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) from Xilinx, which they then programme to do specific functions, such as framing, mapping and multiplexing, in optical transport networks.  The company refers to its products as “Virtual ASSPs”, for application specific standard products.  In essence, it creates standard products implemented in a programmable device to get the best of both worlds – the cost, feature and performance benefits of a traditional ASSP solution with the field programmability and rapid development times associated with an FPGA.
 
This is the latest in a line of acquisitions in which large chip makers have acquired companies that develop telecoms functionality and implement it in FPGAs.  AppliedMicro bought a similar company, Tpack, in August 2010 for more than $32m (approx €22.1m). And Altera acquired Avalon Microelectronics in December 2010 for an undisclosed amount.
 
Omiino board member and Crescent Capital representative Deirdre Terrins said: “Crescent Capital have invested around $1.5m [around €1.04m] in Omiino since it was established just over three years ago. For the company to be acquired so quickly represents a very successful outcome for everyone involved.”
 
By Pauline Rigby