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Monday, March 27, 2006
Japanese Giants to Co-produce 45-nano Chips

Toshiba and NEC have agreed to extend their existing cooperation in the development of advanced microchips to production, the Mainichi Shimbun newspaper said on Monday.

The two Japanese electronics companies, which are co-developing system chips with circuitry width of 45 nanometers, have decided to start making the cutting-edge chips jointly by around 2010.

Toshiba and NEC Electronics are looking into the feasibility of joint production of 45-nanometre chips in line with their announcement in November.

Another Japanese technology giant, Sony, is currenlty Toshiba's development partner from the 90-nm generation, and is now working on the 45-nm generation.

Sony, Toshiba and NEC Electronics announced last month they would co-develop the advanced microchips, sharing hefty costs and pooling technological expertise.

The Mainichi Shimbun article reports that Sony will also join the NEC-Toshiba joint production plan, although Toshio Nakajima, president of NEC Electronics Corp., said that a wider collaboration does not involve Sony, in an interview with EETimes.

"At present we are talking only with Toshiba," said Mr Nakajima.

Sony also declined its involvement to the Toshiba-NEC plans.

"We have no intention of joint production," a Sony spokesman said. "We make products ourselves, and if our capacity is not sufficient, we can turn to outside suppliers."

The 45-nm manufacturing process decreases the size of a chip and enables data to be processed faster. It also cuts production costs per chip.

But costs for development and production facilities have increased as technology moves to ever-more intricate circuitry, making it difficult for chip makers, except for a few heavyweights with deep pockets such as Intel, to go it alone.

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