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Qimonda stops NAND flash development

Posted: 17 Oct 2006 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Qimoda? NAND flash? memory? NROM? Christoph Hammerschmidt?

Qimonda has stopped development of NAND flash memory devices based on the NROM technology the company had licensed from Saifun Semiconductors. The move is a consequence of the present market weakness, a company spokesperson explained.

Besides ceasing development of NROM devices, Qimonda also is ramping down manufacturing of these chips. Although the company presently has no alternative non-volatile memory products available, it does not intend to retreat entirely from the flash market, a spokesperson said. "We used NROM to manufacture commodity NAND flash products," he said "But the market weakness for these products makes it simply unattractive to dedicate manufacturing and development resources to it."

In the long run, the company intends to return to the flash memory market with higher-margin products. "We clearly see a high market potential for non-volatile memory products," the spokesperson explained, He did not, however, elaborate on timing and technology for such a future offering.

With a share of significantly less than 4 percent of total production volume, flash products did not contribute much to Qimonda's sales, and thus the company does not expect a major impact on its sales and profit figures by the ramp-down. "If at all, it will provide for better margins per wafer", the spokesperson said. "Also, the move helps us to slightly decrease our development costs."

Besides flash technologies, the company is also looking at other non-volatile memory technologies. Qimonda is studying MRAM alternatives including PC RAM and CB RAM. However, none of these technologies are even close to maturity phase, the spokesperson explained.

- Christoph Hammerschmidt
EE Times Europe

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