SAN JOSE, Calif. - Troubled next-generation memory hopeful Unity Semiconductor Corp. has found a new savior: Micron Technology Inc., according to sources.
As reported, Unity recently ousted its chief executive and the company is moving from a fab to an intellectual-property (IP) model, according to sources. Unity has reportedly been on the block. And a fab alliance with Fujitsu Ltd. has reportedly fallen through.
Alan Niebel, president of Web-Feet Research, said Unity has found a new partner in Micron. Under the terms, Micron has signed a ''two year'' deal with Unity, he said.
Micron will make a small investment in Unity, Niebel said. Unity will have access to Micron's 300-mm fabs, he added.
A spokesman for Micron declined to comment. With the reported deal, Micron is backing another next-generation memory type. After buying Numonyx last year, Micron assumed the development of Numonyx' phase-change memory (PCM) line, which is having difficulties in ramping up.
Niebel said Micron was supposed to have a 1-Gbit PCM by the end of 2010, ''but where is it?''
Unity has also struggled. After years' in R&D, Unity in 2009 finally unveiled its nonvolatile memory technology and also obtained $22 million in funding. The company's technology, called CMOx, is based on the use of new materials called conductive metal oxides. With the technology, Unity claims to have devised a passive rewritable crosspoint memory array that requires no transistors in a memory cell.
Unity (Sunnyvale, Calif.) has been processing 64-kilobit and 64-megabit products. The 64-Gbit chip was slated for pilot production in the second half of 2010, with volume production in 2Q 2011.
Niebel believes that it will take four years to bring the technology into production, rather than the previous target.
Meanwhile, Unity announced its new leadership team today. David Eggleston has been named as CEO, and Christophe Chevallier, as COO. Louis Parrillo, former head of Spansion's flash memory R&D organization, joins Unity as chief technology officer. Eggleston joined the company in 2007 as vice president of engineering and marketing.
Actually, Mr. Niebel is mistaken. Numonyx (now Micron) was supposed to have the 45nm 1-Gbit thing by mid 2009:
Of course, Micron had already determined (and declared so publicly) in 2004 that PCM does not scale, 10 years after signing that exclusive royalty-bearing license for the PCM patents.
So, what's news?
mark.lapedus: I have nothing against PCM. I have quite a bit against the perpetrators of the longest-running TechnoPonzi scheme and their willing and unwilling collaborators. As some have said, PCM = Phantom-change memory or phony-change memory.
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