Spansion/Saifun, SMIC extend NOR flash pact

October 24, 2007 – Spansion Inc. and Chinese foundry SMIC are partnering to delve further into NOR flash, in a deal that utilizes SMIC’s 65nm foundry work for Spansion’s MirrorBit technologies, and extend into “selected segments” of flash memory to sell 90nm and 65nm and beyond MirrorBit Quad products in China.

SMIC already is a development partner of Israel’s Saifun Semiconductors Ltd., prepping 90nm-based 2GB NAND flash devices with an 8GB-density version using Saifun’s quad NROM (four bits per cell) technology to follow sometime in 2008.

For Spansion, which bought Saifun a few weeks ago, the deal furthers its goals of consolidating Saifun’s NROM IP with its MirrorBit technology, opening new business to license Saifun’s NROM, and also pushing MirrorBit beyond NOR into NAND, DRAM, and systems-on-chip segments. The SMIC pact also provides wafer manufacturing capacity in China, and a more direct partner to help serve the Chinese end market.

For SMIC, the deal continues a plan to further diversify its memory work to include NAND and NOR flash as well as specialty DRAM. “With the booming China consumer electronics market comes the opportunity to create and nurture the growth of various flash memory services and markets,” noted SMIC president/CEO Richard Chang, in a statement.


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