Elpida and Spansion move from 'it's complicated' to 'engaged,' look to conquer NAND universe

Darren Murph
D. Murph|07.24.10

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Elpida and Spansion move from 'it's complicated' to 'engaged,' look to conquer NAND universe
The more the merrier, right? Cutesy sayings aside, the world is gearing up to say "hello" to yet another player in the NAND flash memory market, as Japan's own Elpida Memory (which currently specializes in DRAM) will be joining the fray in the coming months. Said outfit stated this week that it has entered into an alliance with Spansion (the former flash memory joint venture between Fujitsu and AMD), with Spansion licensing its NAND flash intellectual property to Elpida as part of the deal. If all goes to plan, Elpida will begin producing flash chips at its western Japan plant "as early as next year," with some of the output being funneled directly to Spansion. 'Course, with the explosion in smartphone popularity, it's not shocking to see a DRAM stalwart looking for ways to dip its toes in that high-demand NAND stuff, and as consumers, you certainly won't find us kvetching about the competition.
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Spansion and Elpida Announce Broader Flash Memory Alliance

Cooperation includes NAND joint development and foundry services; companies to also explore NOR collaboration

SUNNYVALE, Calif., and TOKYO, July 21 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Elpida Memory, Inc. (TOKYO: 6665) and Spansion Inc. (NYSE: CODE), today announced broadening an existing relationship for joint development of NAND process technology and products to include a foundry services agreement for NAND Flash memory. Elpida has also secured a non-exclusive license to Spansion® NAND IP based on MirrorBit® charge-trapping technology. Elpida will produce the new advanced NAND products at its leading-edge 300mm Hiroshima wafer fab and each company will separately market products to their customers.

Joint development and technology transfer activities for NAND products are well underway in the Hiroshima fab. As part of the expanded alliance, the companies intend to identify additional areas of cooperation such as NOR Flash memory products and manufacturing.

"The alliance with Spansion and the licensing of Spansion NAND IP enable Elpida to develop advanced NAND products which, when combined with our leading DRAM products, allows us to better service markets including cellular handsets and digital consumer," said Yukio Sakamoto, president and chief executive officer of Elpida. "Spansion has developed a very flexible, scalable Flash technology with its MirrorBit charge-trapping technology. We're excited about joint NAND development and the potential for further collaboration in NOR Flash memory."

Elpida gets access to a competitive and scalable NAND technology while giving Spansion a cost-effective manufacturing solution with reduced research and development expenditures.

"Collaborating with Elpida furthers Spansion's strategy," said John Kispert, president and CEO, Spansion. "The joint NAND development activity and foundry agreement allows Spansion to efficiently expand its product offerings and bring additional value to our customers."

About Elpida

Elpida Memory, Inc. (Tokyo: 6665) is a leading manufacturer of Dynamic Random Access Memory (DRAM) integrated circuits. The company's design, manufacturing and sales operations are backed by world class technological expertise. Its 300mm manufacturing facilities, consisting of its Hiroshima Plant and a Taiwan-based joint venture, Rexchip Electronics, utilize the most advanced manufacturing technologies available. Elpida's portfolio features such characteristics as high-density, high-speed, low power and small packaging profiles. The company provides DRAM solutions across a wide range of applications, including personal computers, servers, mobile devices and digital consumer electronics. More information can be found at http://www.elpida.com.

About Spansion

Spansion's (NYSE: CODE) technology is at the heart of electronics systems, powering everything from the internet of today to the smart grid of tomorrow, positively impacting people's daily lives at work and play. Spansion's broad Flash memory product portfolio, smart innovation and industry leading service and support are enabling customers to achieve greater efficiency and success in their target markets. For more information, visit http://www.spansion.com.

Spansion®, the Spansion logo, MirrorBit®, and combinations thereof, are trademarks and registered trademarks of Spansion LLC in the United States and other countries. Other names used are for informational purposes only and may be trademarks of their respective owners.
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