Mike Clendenin(05/07/2007 6:07 AM EDT) TAIPEI, Taiwan
-- In a push to diversify, foundry United Microelectronics Corp. is gearing up for a drive into CPUs and NAND flash memory production on its 65-nanometer and 45-nanometer technology nodes. The company said it is in talks on a CPU production deal, but it is being circumspect on how it will attack the high-volume flash memory market.
Saying UMC "cannot ignore" the rapidly growing commodity flash market, UMC chief executive Jackson Hu plans to push UMC to pursue deals in both NAND, NOR and SRAM, but not DRAM. Hu was tight-lipped on details, but hinted that UMC doesn't intend to wade too deeply into the turbulent waters that typify competition in the commodity flash market.
"NAND and NOR have huge fluctuations in price, so that is something we have to consider very carefully," he said in an interview with EE Times at the company's Hsinchu headquarters. "Clearly, the high-end, high density area is a very challenging board game. It takes significant investment and the technology moves much faster."
Hu acknowledged that opportunities in the commodity NOR market may be limited. That may result in the foundry expanding its business in embedded NOR, similar to a deal it struck with Cypress Semiconductor in March. Cypress plans to shift its 0.13-micron S8 embedded-flash technology and two future generations of embedded-flash technology to UMC. The foundry will also make advanced SRAMs for Cypress, the first of which will be made on a 65-nanometer process later this year.
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