Sony consolidates with Qimonda on DRam deal

Sony consolidates with Qimonda on DRam deal

Joint venture to support future DRam production and lower manufacturing costs

DRam manufacturer Qimonda and Sony have announced plans to create a joint-venture company to produce DRam memory for graphics and consumer applications.

The surprise alliance will allow Sony’s consumer electronics division to offload some of its development and manufacturing costs by teaming up with Qimonda, which has massive production facilities. The new venture, called HeadlineQreatic Design, will be a 50:50 operation, based in Tokyo and staffed by 30 specialists from both companies.

Qreatic is due to start operations by the end of the year, following regulatory clearance and expects to greatly expand its workforce thereafter. Qimonda was spun off as the DRam memory division of Infineon Technologies last year, but has suffered large losses since. Infineon has started selling off its shares in the company to reduce the negative impact on its own profits.

Despite the troubles, Qimonda is the third-largest DRam manufacturer in the world, behind Samsung and Hynix Semiconductor.

“We believe the joint venture will support our future product design and solutions development and will further pave the way for our product diversification in non-PC applications,” said Kin Wah Loh, chief executive of Qimonda.

“The set up of a new design centre in Tokyo in co-operation with Sony is a strategic step to accelerate the worldwide research and development capabilities in that area. As Japan is an important and dynamic market for us and shows excellent R&D talents, especially in the consumer and graphics area, we are glad to consistently expand our successful activities here.”

Yutaka Nakagawa, executive deputy president of Sony’s Semiconductor and Component Group, added: “We identified the establishment of a joint venture with Qimonda, a leader in the DRam field, as an ideal opportunity to extend the advanced DRam design expertise with which Sony has continued to generate added value in finished products, into new business areas.

Rival Hynix has been making its own alliances too, signing a deal with Ovonyx to create the next generation of cheap and fast memory technology, known as Phase Change Ram (PRam). The deal puts it in the running against Samsung, Qimonda and IBM, among others, which are already working on PRam chips that are touted as a better and more cost-effective alternative to NOR Flash and, in certain cases, DRam.