Toshiba, Sony, NEC Elec to co-develop 45-nm chips

By : |January 31, 2006 0

TOKYO: Japan’s Sony Corp., Toshiba Corp. and NEC Electronics Corp. said on Wednesday they will co-develop cutting-edge microchips with a circuitry width of 45 nanometres, pooling technological expertise and sharing hefty development costs.

The move was expected as NEC Electronics President Toshio Nakajima said last week an official agreement between the three was likely.

Finer circuitry decreases the size of a chip enables data to be processed faster. It also cuts per-chip production costs.

But development costs have increased as technology moves to ever-more intricate circuitry. A nanometre is one billionth of a metre.

Intel Corp., the world’s largest chip maker, said in December it would build a 45-nanometre chip factory, which would cost more than $3.5 billion, in Israel — its second such plant after one being built in Arizona.

NEC Electronics, the semiconductor unit of Japanese electronics conglomerate NEC Corp, and Toshiba said in November they would co-develop the cutting-edge chips to share development costs and cut time to market.

Toshiba also said at the time that it and its current partner for developing such microchips, Sony, were in talks with NEC Electronics on a possible three-way alliance in the venture.

Prior to the announcement, shares in Sony closed down 2.3 percent at 5,570 yen and NEC Electronics lost 3.9 percent to end at 3,710 yen, underperforming the Tokyo stock market’s electrical machinery index, which fell 1.13 percent.

Bucking the trend, shares in Toshiba rose 1.1 percent to 759 yen after the world’s fourth-largest microchip maker revised up its full-year outlook on Tuesday, helped by strong demand for flash memory chips.

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