NXP out of Crolles, ST staying in

January 16, 2007 – Ending months of speculation following its private-equity buyout, former Philips chip unit NXP Semiconductor is ending its participation in the Crolles chipmaking partnership with STMicroelectonics and Freescale at the end of this year, although ST says it’s still committed to the partnership.

NXP says it will strengthen its cooperation with TSMC to include advanced R&D in CMOS process technologies as well as manufacturing partnership, a move that will let NXP focus on “creating innovative, differentiating process options, such as embedded non-volatile technology in 45nm” for system-on-chip products, and also build proprietary development on TSMC’s process platform, stated Frans van Houten, NXP president and CEO. Work will leverage NXP’s existing research organization at IMEC’s facilities in Leuven, Belgium, and TSMC’s corporate R&D in Hsinchu, Taiwan, in the areas of IP, design, modeling, materials, and process technologies.

ST, meanwhile, says it will continue technology development at Crolles. The current partners will work to complete a program on 45nm CMOS and manage the transition through 2007, and are actively seeking new partners to continue the program in 2008.

“STMicroelectronics strongly believes that the shared R&D business model, exemplified by the Crolles2 Alliance, contributes to the fast acceleration of semiconductor process technology development,” the company said, in a statement.

The Crolles2 Alliance was formed in 2000, and renewed in 2002 following the addition of Freescale and TSMC, to create and manufacture future- generation technologies and system-on-chip solutions more quickly and more cost-effectively. Products in 120nm, 90nm and recently 65nm have been brought to market as a result of the cooperation. In 2004 the Crolles2 partners allied with CEA-Leti’s Nanotec-300 research program to extend their focus on 45nm-32nm process technologies.


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