While start-up chipmaker
may continue to see its shares pressured now that its initial public offering lock-up period has ended, the company's product agreements this week are soothing some on Wall Street.
After the lock-up expired on Tuesday, Transmeta shares declined by about 25%. And news that the company had scored some points in the U.S. notebook and front-end server markets did little to help the stock. (The end of a lock-up period means insiders whose shares were "locked up" for a period of time after an IPO now can sell.) But by Wednesday, Transmeta's stock was improving, adding $1.18, or 11%, to close at $12.35. And at least one analyst said that the new agreements were an indication that Transmeta was chipping away at the markets in which it's striving to become a player.
Transmeta is facing formidable competition from industry giant
, which in recent months has turned its attention to low-power chips, Transmeta's specialty. It also has yet to ink a deal with a major computer supplier in the U.S. like
. Transmeta itself says it could be difficult to crack that market.
But Transmeta says it's trying.
On Monday, the company announced that it had signed a deal with notebook giant
, which plans to use Transmeta's low-power chips for the first time in its
notebook in Japan. Transmeta makes semiconductors that use less power than a standard microprocessor, which the company says enables them to extend a notebook computer's battery life. The Toshiba deal is expected to be followed by year-end by one in the U.S., where Toshiba is one of the leading notebook sellers.
And on Wednesday Transmeta partner
announced that it will begin selling in the U.S. by the end of May a version of its
notebook with Transmeta's
chip. Transmeta already works with Casio in Japan. The notebook will sell for just under $2,000.
Meanwhile, Transmeta is making inroads in the server market: Tuesday, it announced plans for
to sell servers made by start-up
that are based on Transmeta's Crusoe chips. The company says that because its chips produce less heat, they can put more of them in a smaller place and create a less energy-intensive, more powerful server.
That last piece of news has analyst Brian Alger at
Pacific Growth Equities
in San Francisco feeling good about Transmeta's ability to meet his revenue forecasts of $87.6 million for 2001 and $222 million for 2002. His firm hasn't done any underwriting for Transmeta.
"I'm much more comfortable with
the estimates knowing that Big Blue will be selling," Alger said. Start-ups like RLX, which was formed by ex-Compaq executives, don't give Transmeta the same kind of exposure that an industry giant like IBM can, he explained.