TOKYO: NEC Electronics and Toshiba, two of Japan's biggest chipmakers, have decided to work together on a future generation of semiconductor manufacturing technology.
The two companies will jointly develop technology that can produce chips whose smallest features are 45 nanometers in size. At present, most advanced chips are made on 90nm production lines, although Intel has introduced technology that works down to 65nm.
Toshiba disclosed in early 2004 its plans to work together with Sony on 45nm technology. Now, with Toshiba announcing similar plans to work with NEC Electronics on the same technology, there was a chance that the three companies would end up working together, a spokesperson for Toshiba, Makoto Yasuda, said.
Talks had not taken place yet on a three-way cooperation deal but the idea had not been ruled out, Sony spokesperson, Yoshikazu Ochiai, said.
Chip companies are always trying to improve their production technology because each advance can cut costs and bring big benefits for users. However, it is becoming harder and harder to push the boundaries of chip development, and that's leading companies to work together to share costs and cut development time.