Via Loses Chip Set Exec, Engineers

The Via Technologies Inc. executive charged with running the company's chipset business has resigned, taking a team of engineers with him, according to a source familiar with the situation.

Chewei Lin, the vice president and general manager of Via's platform group, resigned from Via to join ASMedia Technology Inc., a subsidiary of Asustek Computer Inc., the source said. ASMedia designs chips for consumer electronics like MP3 players and LCD (liquid crystal display) televisions.

Lin's departure was first reported Friday by Taiwanese Web site DigiTimes, which also reported that 40 Via engineers left with him. The source could not immediately confirm the number of Via engineers that resigned with Lin, but said the figure reported by DigiTimes "sounds reasonably accurate."

Via declined to comment on Lin's resignation.

If the microprocessor is the brain of a computer, chipsets -- consisting of a memory controller hub, also called a Northbridge, and an I/O controller hub, known as a Southbridge -- are the central nervous system, connecting the processor with the computer's memory, hard disk and other components, such as the graphics card.

Chipsets designed to work with processors from Intel Corp. and Advanced Micro Devices Inc. were once the mainstay of Via's business. But that changed in recent years as the company put more effort into expanding its own processor business. Chipsets remain an important source of revenue for Via, but company executives see low-power processors, and systems based on them, as the company's best hope for future growth.

Most of the chipset development work done by Via is focused on Intel and AMD processors. These chipset designs are later tweaked and modified to work with Via's own line of processors.