Intel offers no comment
Last modified on Friday, 20 June 2008 09:36
Seagate Technology is rumored to be buying out Intel’s 49% ownership stake in IM Flash Technologies. IM Flash Technology is a NAND flash memory vendor that is a joint venture between Micron Technology Inc. and Intel. Currently, the leading suppliers of NAND flash include IM Flash Technologies, Samsung, Hynix Semiconductor Inc., and a joint venture between SanDisk and Toshiba.
IM Flash Technologies announced a new 34-nanometer, 32-gigabit NAND flash memory chip in May, and unveiled high-speed NAND flash memory based on 8GB single-level cell memory technology that they said can transfer data at speeds up to five times faster than conventional NAND technology this past February.
Several industry analysts have speculated about the Seagate buyout as a logical extension of Seagate’s move into popular solid-state drives. It has been predicted that solid-state technology would outpace demand for physical spinning disks in data centers, as IT managers look to improve Web services response times and to speed up transaction processing.
It is suspected that Intel is growing dissatisfied with its two-year-old investment in IM Flash Technologies due to the NAND flash memory market slump caused by a huge oversupply and high prices. A down side to Seagate’s acquisition of Intel’s interest in IM Flash Technologies could be that Seagate would owe royalties on multilevel cell technology (MLC) usage to SanDisk. The cross-licensing agreement that is in place between Intel and SanDisk to use MLC would not likely transfer to Seagate.