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Qimonda could be buried by wordline

24 February 2009 | By Mark Osborne | News > Fab Management

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‘Buried Wordline’ DRAM process technologyQimonda AG has said that it has secured an unidentified investor to support a limited production of its 46nm ‘Buried Wordline’ DRAM process technology.  This took place at its 300mm fab in Dresden, Germany after the official deadline of March 31st when the company could be liquidated should a new investor with the necessary funds not be found or accepted by the German insolvency court.

The DRAM manufacturer is currently in insolvency administration and has now advised on several occasions that its new low cost and high performance process technology is its only chance of survival as it could potentially be a highly competitive near-term technology if able to ramp the technology into high volume production.

In a less than straightforward statement, Qimonda reiterated that it was in discussions in tandem with the appointed administrator, Michael Jaffé with ‘numerous international interested parties’ that could see one partner long-term with Qimonda or simply be acquired.

However, Qimonda seems to be pushing for another option just in case talks with interested parties fail to reach a positive conclusion by the court deadline. The company said that financing options were being investigated that would allow Qimonda to actually demonstrate the new process technology in production for several months after the March deadline that were designed to effectively demonstrate the technology to a potential partner.

According to Qimonda, various State financial assistance from Portugal and Germany, and now the EU would still be available to the company but only when a new partner has been found.

With severe overcapacity in the memory market, Qimonda’s 300mm and 200mm fabs have little intrinsic value to other memory manufacturers, which are predominantly based in lower cost base countries such as Korea and Taiwan.

However, Taiwan DRAM manufacturers such as Nanya, Inotera, ProMOS and PSC do not have leading-edge DRAM process IP, other than through a manufacturing partner that does have the IP.

In Taiwan, efforts are well underway with support of the Taiwan Government to ensure that Taiwan’s DRAM producers secure long-term survival with the necessary IP, though on the surface this is being negotiated with two of Qimonda’s rivals, Micron Technology and Elpida Memory.

Currently, the two non-Taiwanese memory manufacturers would seem to be positioning to partner with two separate camps, Micron with former Qimonda production partners, Nanya and Inotera, while Elpida would partner with PSC and ProMOS.

Should some of Qimonda’s ‘unidentified interested parties’ be Taiwanese, then this could potentially strengthen the Taiwan’s Government and DRAM producers negotiating position with foreign competitors.

Time would also seem to be running out for Taiwan’s DRAM producers but Qimonda is now dependent on rescue from new and yet to be validated Buried Wordline technology, a position that is tenuous at best. When in doubt, ask Transmeta.

Related articles

Qimonda starts volume production of Buried Wordline DRAM - 05 November 2008

Qimonda cuts wafer starts at Dresden 300mm fab - 10 February 2009

Qimonda exits U.S.-based manufacturing - 04 February 2009

Qimonda and Elpida team on sub-40nm DRAM development - 24 April 2008

Qimonda to fab ‚??Buried Wordline‚?? DRAM technology as replacement to ‚??Deep-Trench‚?? - 26 February 2008

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