IBM, Toshiba, Sony To Make Most Advanced Semiconductor Technology

By Agence France-Presse Two top U.S. and Japanese high-tech giants and the Sony Group said April 2 they would spend several hundred million dollars over four years to develop the most sophisticated semiconductor technologies available. IBM, Japan's Toshiba Corp., Sony Corp. and Sony Computer Entertainment (SCE) will pool their resources for the first time ever to build high-class chips based on IBM's technology such as its silicon-on-insulator transistors. "The team will . . . develop new process technologies for building chips with features as small as 50 nanometers on 300 millimeter wafers," the four said in a statement. "Smaller features mean more can be packed on a single chip . . . the new processes are expected to be the world's most sophisticated," they said. IBM would provide the know-how for the venture, while Toshiba would contribute its high-volume manufacturing capacity and Sony would bring its electronics expertise, explained Ken Kutaragi, president and CEO of SCE and a Sony director. "Incorporation of these cutting-edge process technologies into various audio, visual and IT products as well as to the computer entertainment system, is expected to bring even higher competitive power to the entire Sony Group," Kutaragi said in the statement. The development will be conducted by engineers and scientists in the United States and each party will use the fruits of their labor in their own manufacturing plants. But there were no plans of a joint venture at the moment, said Sony spokesman Yoshikazu Ochiai. Separately, IBM agreed to transfer its latest IBM technologies to Sony and Toshiba. Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2002

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