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SanDisk, Hynix ink NAND joint venture project

Posted: 23 Mar 2007 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:flash memory? NAND? NAND flash memory? flash? x4 technology?

SanDisk Corp. and Hynix Semiconductor Inc. are planning a joint venture to develop flash memories and NAND memory systems based on four-bit-per-cell x4 flash technology. The move follows the companies signing a patent cross licensing deal on March 21 covering flash memory that ends a long-standing dispute.

The joint venture would involve equal capital investments by both companies in production capacity at Hynix. The companies' x4 technology cooperation was started between msystems Ltd and Hynix before the acquisition of msystems by SanDisk last July for $1.35 billion.

Neither company would give further details about the proposed venture.

"With the patent cross license behind us, we are able to put aside distractions and turn our attention to a very promising relationship in the development of x4 technology. We look forward to building on this relationship to our companies mutual benefit," said O.C. Kwon, senior VP of Hynix.

Eli Harari, chairman and CEO of SanDisk, added in a statement: "This cross license agreement resolves all IP issues between Hynix and SanDisk, and allows each company to focus on maximizing its opportunities."

Hynix already has a NAND flash memory manufacturing joint venture with STMicroelectronics that is expected to start making 4Gbit and 8Gbit devices on a 70nm process soon in Wuxi, China.

Hynix also recently resolved a long-standing patent dispute with Toshiba Corp. about DRAM and NAND technology with an agreement on semiconductor cross-licensing and product supply.

Though details were not confirmed, the deal reportedly involves a Hynix cash payment to Toshiba.

- John Walko
EE Times Europe

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