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MicroUnity Systems Engineering, Inc.
IndustryComputer hardware and software
Key people
John Moussouris

MicroUnity Systems Engineering, Inc. is a private company located in Los Altos, California and an early developer of broadband microprocessor technologies licensed widely across digital media industries.

Founders and Funding[edit]

MicroUnity was founded in 1988 by John Moussouris, a physicist trained at Harvard University and as a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University who had co-founded MIPS Computer Systems.[1][2][3] The Chief Architect is Craig Hansen, who used to be Chief Architect at MIPS and NeXT.[1][3] An early investor was Moussouris’ Harvard classmate William Randolph Hearst III, the publishing and media executive who became a partner at venture firm Kleiner Perkins.[1][3][4] In the early 1990s, MicroUnity was backed by over $100 million from companies like Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft, Motorola, and telecommunications leaders like Time Warner and John Malone at Tele-Communications Inc..[1][3][4][5]

Early media processing technology[edit]

The company’s main focus was a programmable media processor chip and associated software aimed at set-top boxes and other systems.[1][3][6]

MicroUnity kept its product development secret until 1995.[3][6] In early 1996, the company published details at COMPCON [7][8] of its media processor hardware and software designs. The technology processed media data of various types and width in a 128-bit data path in parallel.[7][8][9]

Manufacturing innovations[edit]

MicroUnity developed its first designs in BiCMOS at a time when Intel Pentium Pro and Sun Microsystems SPARC were designed in BiCMOS.[10] Company patents describe technologies intended for integration of analog media interfaces with digital circuits.[11]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Intel Settlement Revives a Fading Chip Designer". New York Times. 2005-10-20. Retrieved 2014-07-01.
  2. ^ "John Moussouris". Bloomberg Businessweek. Retrieved 2014-07-01.
  3. ^ a b c d e f "John Moussouris has created a multimedia chip that could change the face of communications. Now he hopes the world will . . . : Follow His MUSE". Los Angeles Times. 1996-04-17. Retrieved 2014-07-01.
  4. ^ a b "Chip Start-ups Big Payoff comes in at Last". New York Times. 2005-10-20. Retrieved 2014-07-01.
  5. ^ "A Maverick Enters Chip Making". New York Times. 1994-02-23. Retrieved 2014-07-02.
  6. ^ a b "Chip Maker Introduces a Chip for Super Use and for Modems". New York Times. 1995-10-10. Retrieved 2014-07-02.
  7. ^ a b Hansen, C. (February 25–28, 1996). MicroUnity's Mediaprocessor Architecture. CompCon 1996 Technologies for the Digital Superhighway. IEEE Conference Publications. pp. 34–41.
  8. ^ a b Abbott, C.; Massalin, H.; Peterson, K.; Karzes, T.; Yamano, L.; Kellogg, G. (February 25–28, 1996). Broadband algorithms with the MicroUnity Mediaprocessor. CompCon 1996 Technologies for the Digital Superhighway. IEEE Conference Publications. pp. 349–354.
  9. ^ Yu Hen Hu (ed.). Programmable Digital Signal Processors. Marcel Dekker Inc. pp. 217–219.
  10. ^ Slater, Michael (November 13, 1995). "Intel Boosts Pentium Pro to 200 MHz". Microprocessor Report.
  11. ^ [1], "BroadMX C/C++ Functions" 

External links[edit]