Thursday, April 24, 2008

Elpida Memory and Qimonda Agree to Form Technology Partnership

Elpida Memory and Qimonda AG, both leading global suppliers of dynamic random access memory, announced on Thursday that had signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for a technology partnership on joint development of memory chips (DRAMs) and process technologies for their manufacturing.

In the planned cooperation, Qimonda will provide its know-how with the innovative buried wordline technology (which is usually called “trench technology” in DRAM world) and Elpida its advanced stack capacitor technology (which is normally called “stack technology” in DRAM industry). The strategic technology cooperation will leverage the strength of both companies to accelerate their roadmap to DRAM products featuring cell sizes of 4F². Current industry standard cell size is 8F², whereas some memory manufacturers, namely Micron and Samsung, can boast with 6F² cell sizes.

Elpida and Qimonda plan to introduce the jointly developed innovative 4F² cell concept in the 40nm generation in calendar year 2010 and to subsequently scale it to the 30nm generation.

“This strategic cooperation with Elpida is a tremendous endorsement of our innovative buried wordline technology. Qimonda will leverage this partnership to significantly accelerate the introduction of small 4F² cell sizes. This technology alignment of two major DRAM innovators creates excellent opportunities for greater economies of scale in R&D and future joint manufacturing activities,” said Kin Wah Loh, president and chief executive of Qimonda AG.

The companies plan to jointly develop technology platforms and design rules to enable both exchange of products and potential manufacturing joint ventures. Both companies target to align their development activities at their respective sites in Hiroshima and Dresden, including the exchange of engineers. Additionally, the companies also have agreed to explore joint development opportunities in the areas of “Through Silicon Via Technology” and future memories.

“Our R&D effort has given us the lead in DRAM technology. In the tough, competitive industry that we are in, however, faster and more efficient development of new process technologies is becoming critically important. We believe this joint development agreement with Qimonda will further accelerate and strengthen our technology leadership, putting us on a path to the top position in the DRAM market,” said Yukio Sakamoto, president and chief exec of Elpida said.

Following today’s MOU, Qimonda and Elpida expect to conclude their negotiations and finalize definitive agreements in due course.

Earlier this week another two experts in “trench” and “stack” DRAM production technologies – Nanya and Micron Technology – decided to form memory joint venture. Qimonda also has joint-venture with Nanya called Inotera.

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