Japanese Chip Makers Team up for 45nm

Toshiba Corp. and other Japanese chip makers on Tuesday scrapped a tentative plan to set up a microchip foundry but said they will standardize technology to make cutting-edge chips in a latest effort to join forces.

Toshiba, Fujitsu Ltd., NEC Electronics Corp. and Renesas Technology have agreed to set a technology standard for advanced chips with circuitry widths of 45-nanometres or finer, looking to possible mutual use and consolidation of their plants in the future.

Industry specialists have said Japanese chip makers need to join hands to regain competitiveness and better compete with larger rivals such as Intel Corp., Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. and Texas Instruments Inc.

Finer circuitry means the chip can be smaller while data can be processed faster. It also cuts production costs per chip.
But costs for development and production equipment have risen as technology moves to ever-more intricate circuitry, making it difficult for chip makers to shoulder the burden alone.

A nanometer is one billionth of a meter. Most of the world's advanced semiconductor factories currently make chips with a circuitry width of 90 nanometers.

Following the announcement, Sony Corp., which is co-developing 45-nanometre chips with Toshiba and NEC Electronics, said the company will cooperate with the group of four chip makers.

News source: Reuters

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