Motorola Computer Group, FirmWorks Licensing Agreement Paves Way for Multi-Operating System Support on PowerPC(tm) Microprocessor-based Platforms

RISC PCs and Motherboards to Get Boot Firmware First

TEMPE, Ariz., October 9, 1995 -- The Motorola Computer Group (MCG) and FirmWorks, a leading developer of Open Firmware products, today annoucnced a key licesnse agreement. Under terms of the agreement, MCG will use FirmWorks's Power Firmware(tm) boot firmware in MCG's platforms based on PowerPC microprocessors. Initially, Power Firmware will be implemented on MCG's PowerStack(tm) offering of RISC PCs and motherboards based on PowerPC microprocessors. Ultimately, the addition of Power Firmware will be extended to MCG's extensive line of single board computers and PowerStack servers, leading the way for enhanced multiple operating system support on thse products. MCG is scheduled to ship its first line of PowerPC systems and motherboards with Power Firmware in January.

Open Firmware enables computer systems to fully support the booting of multiple operating systems and processor-independent "plug-and-play" add-in cards. Use of Open Firmware is mandated by the PowerPC Reference Platform (PReP) and Common Hardware Reference Platform (CHRP) system architecture standards developed by IBM, Motorola and Apple for computer systems based on PowerPC microprocessors. FirmWorks's Power Firmware product is the only full-featured implementation of IEEE 1275-compliant Open Firmware available today. In addition to the required boot features, Power Firmware includes IEEE 1275 optional features such as development and debugging tools that ease the bring-up of computer system boards in the development lab.

"The addition of Open Firmware is yet another step in MCG's support of standards as required by PReP," said Jerry Gipper, director of marketing for embedded technology at MCG. "FirmWorks is the industry champion and leading provider of Open Firmware; they invented the technology, they lead the development of the IEEE 1275 standard, and their technology is field proven." He continues, "Open Firmware is a critical technology for providing operating system independent plug-and-play capability, thus minimizing the effort required of platform providers as well as PCI and PCI Mezzanine Card (PMC) vendors. By taking this step now, the Motorola Computer Group assures customers of these real-world benefits in a user environment that will be compatible with forthcoming CHRP machines."

According to Michael Summers, President of FirmWorks, "Motorola has taken an important strategic step by implementing the IEEE 1275-compliant Open Firmware product in its systems." He continues, "This step positions MCG's products well ahead of the competition in advance of the release of CHRP machines that will require Open Firmware for initial release."

The Power Firmware micro-kernel is small, fast and efficient, enabling today's users to leverage its power, interactive debugging capability and automatic system configuration. The field-proven code can be easily ported to other system architectures and supports multiple operating systems such as Windows NT®, AIX®, Mac(tm) OS and Solaris(tm).

MCG established its leadership position in the PowerPC arena by introducing the first system and VMEbus board line based on the PowerPC 604(tm) microprocessor. Leveraging its expertise in the VME market and as a natural evolution of its VME product line, MCG also offers a family of motherboards based on the PowerPC 603(tm), PowerPC 603e(tm) and PowerPC 604 microprocessors. MCG's PowerStack offering consists of clients, servers, multi-user computers that support a wide range of requirements from desktop clients and small servers to servers supporting entire enterprises.

FirmWorks was founded in 1994 with headquarters in Mountain View, Calif. Its mission is to promote the Open Firmware standard by supplying Open Firmware services and products such as Power Firmware for the emerging PowerPC market. Information about FirmWorks products is available on the World Wide Web at the location

The Motorola Computer Group (MCG) is a worldwide hardware and software platform supplier to companies that provide computer solutions -- original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), distributors, value-added resellers (VARs), systems integrators and select end users. MCG products include a full range of industry-leading VMEbus boards; multi-user systems and client/server platforms based on the PowerPC microprocessor and AIX 4.1 and Windows NT 3.51 operating systems; and real-time system platforms. Hardware is supported by standards-based operating systems software and systems enablers -- all the tools necessary to develop end-user solutions. MCG products are characterized by world-class Six Sigma quality goals; superior hardware and price/performance ratios; and faithfulness to the tenets of open computing -- modularity, scalability, portability, and interoperability.

MCG corporate headquarters, along with Latin America headquarters are located in Tempe, Ariz. MCG's European headquarters are located in Brussels, Belgium. Headquarters for MCG's Asia Pacific region are located in Hong Kong. Information about MCG's products is also available on the World Wide Web at the location

Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT) is one of the world's leading providers of wireless communications, semiconductors, and advanced electronic systems and services. Major equipment businesses include cellular telephone, two-way radio, paging and data communications, personal communications, automotive, defense and space electronics, and computers. Communication devices, computers and millions of consumer products are powered by Motorola semiconductors. Motorola's 1994 sales were $22.2 billion.

Back to Press Releases Page.
Back to FirmWorks Home Page.

Motorola, the Motorola logo, and PowerStack are trademarks of Motorola, Inc.
PowerPC, PowerPC 603, PowerPC 603e, PowerPC 604 are trademarks of International Business Machines Corp. and are used by Motorola, Inc. under license from International Business Machines Corp.
Power Firmware is a trademark of FirmWorks.
AIX is a registered trademark of International Business Machines Corp.
Windows NT is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corporation.
Mac is a trademark of Apple Computer.
Solaris is a trademark of Sunsoft, Inc.

Last Modified: September 26, 1996