SUNNYVALE, Calif.--Oak Technology Inc. here tied itself closer to the Asian market this week, taking the first steps toward a partnership designed to enhance its optical storage business.
In separate deals, Oak agreed to supply Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. with its OTI-9790 CD-RW optical storage controller for a new line of Samsung 8X drives, and licensed Samsung's PRML (partial response maximum likelihood) and radio-frequency amplifier technology for use in future optical storage products.
For Oak, licensing the technology was a classic "make vs. buy" decision, according to Simon Dolan, vice president of corporate marketing for the Sunnyvale company.
"We believe the future of the industry lies within so-called 'comby' [combination DVD and rewriteable CD] drives, and it was therefore important to get good DVD technology within the drives," Dolan said.
The PRML technology allows weaker signals to be understood, which allows drives to spin faster, while the RF amplifier is an integral component in DVD drives.
Oak said it will develop its relationship with Samsung, working with the company so that both can benefit from their respective IP portfolios wherever possible.
"When we look at the business we're in--and this may sound a bit trite--partnering in Asia is a matter of relationships," Dolan added. Partnering with Samsung, for example, demonstrates that there's more to Oak's commitment than a simple transaction, he said.
Since Oak has refocused its business around both its Pixel Magic imaging subsidiary and optical storage business, Dolan said that the two companies plan to share resources, including semiconductor cores. As part of the deepening ties between the two, Samsung also may be asked to expand its role as an IP supplier to assist in product design, Dolan said.
Although Oak, a fabless supplier, enjoys a strong relationship with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd. (TSMC), Samsung might be asked to embed DRAM within Oak's logic process for system-on-a-chip development efforts, he said.
The companies will not, however, formally exchange engineers, nor has Samsung made any investment in Oak, according to Dolan, who declined to comment specifically on future product plans.