Micron to become number 2 memory maker in the world
US-based Micron Technology has entered into an agreement to acquire bankrupt Japanese DRAM maker Elpida for $2.5 billion, according to Digitimes. Elpida is remains a key component supplier for Apple's new iPad and iPhone 4S, and will propel Micron to the number 2 position in memory chip fabrication behind only Samsung with a 24 percent share of the global market. Like a number of its Japanese compatriots, Elpida had struggled to cope with the challenge posed by the Korean tech giant and filed for bankruptcy protection in February after it could not pay back $1.89 billion in debt due in April.
Samsung and HTC shares suffer at the hands of Apple
Samsung and HTC stock have both taken a hit thanks to separate actions instigated by Apple. Samsung’s stock saw $10 billion wiped off its value following a report by DigiTimes indicating that Apple had placed a large order for DRAM from its struggling Japanese competitor Elpida. Separately, HTC’s shares also slumped by over 6 percent following an Apple initiated ITC injunction being enforced by US Customs, stopping the importation of its hotly anticipated One X and EVO 4G LTE handsets.
Elpida files for bankruptcy protection in Japan
Despite recent efforts to team with Toshiba or partner with Micron, Japanese computer chipmaker has filed for bankruptcy protection on Monday, The Register reported. The DRAM maker has debts that add up to 448 million yen ($5.6 million). In a statement, the company revealed its actions were made necessary by the falling prices of DRAM products due to competition and record yen values against the US dollar.
Elpida and Toshiba could make memory powerhouse
Japanese memory firms Elpida and Toshiba were reported as talking to unite or even being pushed together. Industry tips to Digitimes had the Japanese government acting as a broker to have Elpida match its RAM business with Toshiba's flash memory. The government would hope to hedge against the incursions of Korean and American companies like Hynix, Intel, and Samsung.
Elpida mobile RAM twice as fast as before
Elpida on Wednesday started shipping test samples of some of the world's first four-gigabit (512MB), low-power DDR3 memory for mobile devices. The storage is both high capacity but also uses a new technique known as Wide IO to dramatically improve the speed. By moving to an "x512-bit" bandwidth, it would leap to as much as 12.8GB per second, or about 10 times more than usual.
Intellectual Ventures now takes Motorola to court
Intellectual Ventures swung back into its patent lawsuit campaign by targeting Motorola Mobility, with the company now filing a patent infringement complaint (PDF) in the US District Court of Delaware. According to the company's Chief Litigation Counsel Melissa Finocchio said Intellectual Ventures and Motorola Mobility weren't able to reach a licensing agreement after lengthy negotiations. It thus has a responsibility to its current customers and investors to defend its intellectual property rights, the company claimed.
Apple taps Elpida, Toshiba for more flash and RAM
Industry sources purported Wednesday night that Apple was increasing its orders for NAND flash memory and RAM from Japanese suppliers. The parts, which Digitimes suggests would respectively come from Toshiba and Elpida, would help it further reduce dependence on Samsung. Both Apple and Samsung are involved in reciprocal lawsuits, and Apple is likely eager to avoid any retaliation from Samsung through the supply chain.
Apple investing in Sharp to guarantee iOS supply
Industry contacts divulged early Wednesday that Apple was investing $1 billion into a Sharp LCD plant. The proposed deal would guarantee a steady supply of screens for iPads and iPhones, Reuters said. It would combine with a now supposedly corroborated investment in Toshiba to the same ends.
Intellectual Ventures sues over memory patents
Intellectual Ventures late Monday continued a string of lawsuits against technology firms with a new lawsuit (below) claiming companies violate five patents for system memory. The complaint hits direct memory part suppliers such as Adata, Elpida, Hynix, and Kingston but also some of their customers, such as Acer, ASUS, Dell, HP, and Logitech. Even Best Buy and Walmart, stores merely selling the products, are included in the Seattle-based suit.
Moto Atrix 4G torn down by iFixit
A new teardown of the just shipping Atrix 4G has uncovered a very easy-to-fix design. The iFixit deconstruction shows a device that has relatively little glue and is fairly easily disassembled with just a few screws and clips. Unlike the iPhone 4 and many other phones, the LCD also isn't fused to the glass, making a fix cheaper in the event of a drop.
Company dismisses "patent troll" label
Patent holder Intellectual Ventures has initiated lawsuits against a long list of tech companies that failed to establish licensing agreements. One of the suits targets security software makers Symantec, McAfee, Trend Micro and Check Point. A second suit is aimed at memory manufacturers Elpida Memory and Hynix Semiconductor, while a third suit has been filed against component makers Altera, Lattice and Microsemi.
EU says Samsung and others kept prices high
The European Union today fined a collective of memory producers 331.3 million euros (about $404.4 million) for price fixing. Electronics giants Hitachi, Mitsubishi, NEC, Samsung and Toshiba as well as Elpida, Hynix, Infineon and Nanya admitted they artificially kept RAM prices high between at least 1998 and 2002 by secretly coordinating pricing between each other. Samsung faces the largest fine and will pay 145.7 million euros ($177.8 million), but Infineon will also pay a large 56.7 million euros ($69.2 million) for its involvement.
EU may make firms take plea to avoid huge fines
The European Union is about to fine nine companies a total of $370 million for allegedly fixing pricing on flash memory, leaks revealed on Monday. Samsung, Hynix, Toshiba and six other major companies are being pressed to admit to colluding on high prices in exchange for seeing a 10 percent drop in the fines levied against each company. An NYT contact believed a ruling could come as soon as Wednesday.
Elpida files lawsuits against Infineon, Best Buy
Computer memory maker Elpida has filed a lawsuit against Infineon and Best Buy, spurred on by a complaint at the US International Trade Commission filed against it by Infineon. With the complaint, German-based Infineon attempted to stop Elpida from importing and selling some of its DRAM modules in the US. This earned a lawsuit from Elpida, which alleged Infineon and Best Buy infringes on Elpida's semiconductor integrated circuits.
Elpida 1 Gigabit XDR RAM
Elpida this morning set what it believes is a new benchmark for memory with the launch of the first 1-gigabit XDR RAM with 32-bit bandwidth. The storage not only makes large amounts of fast memory possible but is also billed as some of the fastest memory of any kind. A 7.2GHz clock speed along with the extra bandwidth gives the memory much more headroom: the new XDR chip has up to 28.8GB per second, or about nine times more than the fastest stock DDR3 memory and twice as much as Elpida's previous best.
Elpida 50nm DDR3 RAM
Elpida says it has expanded its lineup of DDR3 RAM with what it says is the most energy-efficient memory of the type. A new format based on a 50 nanometer manufacturing process helps both reduce the size of each chip to 40mm (1.6in) square and also reduces the amount of power necessary to drive the memory. Where most DDR3 needs 1.5 volts, the new memory can scale back to 1.35V or even 1.2V in notebooks, servers and other low-profile computers that may not run at full power.
Elpida 16GB FB DIMM Memory
Elpida on Tuesday claims to have broken a record by becoming the first memory manufacturer to develop 16-gigabyte fully buffered DIMM (FB-DIMM) RAM sticks, significantly expanding the memory ceiling for pro workstations and servers. The DDR2-based creation is twice as capacious as still-rare 8GB sticks and relies on a unique integrated packaging to fit the memory without creating excess. Although 16GB, the RAM is unusually thin at 0.3in deep and has the same power needs as a simpler 8GB stick.