@Junko: the maneuvering seems to draw some inspiration from the formation of Global Foundries but I would also caution this -TSMC is always lurking in the corner with its dominance over others. If the joint effort is truly operated as an independent unit, it will have to deal with that business reality and operate accordingly.
I am not certain if Toshiba has indeed been able to keep its head above the water. It has its own problems. The proposed deal involving the three companies reflects more of the history that goes back among those three companies, I think.
Panasonic, for example, worked with Renesas on its 32-nm process technology. So, I wouldn't read too much into this -- why those three and why Toshiba not involved.
The failure of the established semiconductor industry of Japan to keep up with the rise of lower cost semiconductor industry in Taiwan & Korea ( aided and abetted by profit maximizing US Corp.s who have xferred technology to them ) is the most obvious reason behind the current crises.
But not all Japanese semicos have gone downhill, e,g. Toshiba. So how has Toshiba been able to keep its head above the water ? How are they different from these 3 Japanese semiconductor / electronics conglomerates now considering merger ?
Any comments ?
They could as well simply consolidate all semi operations of these companies. Anyway Jap semi companies sales are mostly limited to japanese market. With a few exceptions like Toshiba, Renesas most of the semi divisions (sony,panasonic) are supported by internal sales. Whats the point of keeping separate semi divisions, if they cant successfully compete globally?
Actually, this deal would result in at least one and probably two additional Japanese chip firms being born, according to the Nikkei report. Renesas, Fujitsu and Panasonic would continue to exist and presumably market their own chips (MCU, etc.), but their SoC operations would be rolled together into what would presumably be a fourth new company. And a fifth company, a foundry, would be created in a JV with Globalfoundries, if the report is accurate.
Nikkei similarly reported the rumors regarding Elpida-Micron. Elpida's stock responded correspondingly.
Diversification investment is the only insurance against consolidation. Regretfully, only Samsung, the company everyone fears, or perhaps more accurately, the government behind it, executed this correctly.