SAN JOSE, Calif. IBM Corp., Sony Corp. and Toshiba Corp. on Thursday (Jan. 12) said they have begun a new, five-year phase of their joint technology development alliance in ICs.
As part of this broad semiconductor R&D alliance, the three companies said they will work together on fundamental research related to advanced process technologies at the 32-nm node and beyond.
Research and development will take place at IBM's Thomas J. Watson Research Center (Yorktown Heights, N.Y.), the Center for Semiconductor Research Albany (N.Y.) NanoTech and at IBM's 300-mm fab in East Fishkill, N.Y.
Over the last five years, the companies have collaborated on the "Cell" microprocessor design and its underlying silicon-on-insulator (SOI) process technologies at 90-and 65-nm.
Japan’s Toshiba is said to be involved in other chip ventures; the company could be hedging its bets.
For example, seeking to regain lost ground in ICs, Hitachi, Renesas and Toshiba are expected to be among the first companies to form the long-awaited foundry fab venture in Japan, according to a report.
Complicating matters, NEC Electronics and Toshiba recently announced that the two companies would share the development of 45-nm CMOS logic manufacturing processes. In addition, starting with this joint development, the two companies have begun discussions on the possibility of a comprehensive alliance that would range from design and product development through to manufacturing.
Toshiba and Sony have been collaborating on process technologies up to 45 nm also. But a Toshiba spokesman didn't specify whether the companies would collaborate beyond 45 nm.
"This is a winning combination," Masashi Muromachi, president and CEO of Toshiba's Semiconductor Company, said in a statement.
"With Toshiba's cutting-edge process technology and manufacturing capabilities, Sony's various semiconductor technologies and deep knowledge of consumer markets and IBM's state-of-the-art material technology, we can anticipate breakthrough process technologies for the 32-nanometer generation and beyond. Toshiba will apply these advances to assuring continued leadership in cutting-edge process technology and the accelerated development of essential devices for the age of ubiquitous connectivity."
Yoshiko Hara contributed from Tokyo.