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Oki entrusts 0.155m, finer fabrication to UMC

Posted: 10 Sep 2002 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:oki electric industry? united microelectronics? semiconductor? fabless ip? gold ip program?

Expanding its relationship with United Microelectronics Corp., Oki Electric Industry Co. Ltd will commit leading-edge fabrication of future products to the Taiwan-based foundry. Oki intends to divide its own semiconductor business clearly into fabless and foundry functions.

As part of the deal, Oki will join UMC's Gold IP program as a Design Plus partner, allowing the companies to use each other's IP and offer it to their customers.

UMC has been producing 0.355m and 0.225m products for Oki since 2000.

Under the new foundry agreement, signed with UMC's Japan subsidiary, UMCJ in Chiba, Oki will integrate its design rule and process parameters for a 0.155m process to UMC's rules and parameters and will entrust fabrication of SoCs on 0.155m process and deeper to the UMCJ foundry. Oki now relies on UMC for about 30 percent of its foundry fabrication, but that total is expected to grow to 75 percent by 2005.

Oki owns two fab facilities with five lines equipped with 0.225m to 0.185m processes. It plans to maintain these fabs without making further investment. "Apart from test production, we will entrust volume fabrication of future-generation LSIs to UMC," said an Oki spokesman who asked not to be named.

UMC has more than a dozen companies as Design Plus partners, but Oki will only be the second based in Japan. Kawasaki Microelectronics was the first. While Sharp Microelectronics is also an important UMC customer for flash memories, it is not a Design Plus partner.

"With this expansion of partnership, UMC and Oki share each other's technology more deeply," a UMC Japan spokesman said.

Oki plans to separate its semiconductor business into two internal companies, a design company, and a fabrication company, in October.

The design company's products designed for front-edge processes will be entrusted for the most part to UMC. Oki has the 5Plat design platform for developing SoCs using an ARM processor as the core. The 5Plat platform "has a nearly monopolizing share in PHS (personal handyphone system, a mobile phone format) baseband chips" the Oki spokesman said. "We are going to promote 5Plat in this field as well as other applications like automobile engine control."

The fab company will have more freedom to fabricate SoCs not only for Oki but also for external customers, the Oki spokesman said.

- Yoshiko Hara

EE Times

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