Infineon in capacity deal with Taiwanese DRAM makers

With the price of some memory chips having increased in recent months, German memory-chip maker Infineon Technologies AG has boosted its access to production capacity for DRAM (dynamic RAM) chips in deals struck with two Taiwanese memory makers.

Through a non-binding memorandum of understanding with Winbond Electronics Corp. and an agreement with Mosel Vitelic Inc., Infineon expects to boost its access to DRAM production capacity by 20,000 wafer starts per month, the company said Monday.

As part of the agreement with Winbond, Infineon will license its DRAM technology to Winbond in return for exclusive access to chips manufactured using this technology beginning in 2003. Winbond will be able to use Infineon's DRAM technology to develop memory chips that can be sold to other customers, Infineon said, adding the company would receive a royalty for these products.

Winbond will initially produce 256M-bit DDR (double data rate) SDRAM (synchronous DRAM) chips for Infineon, with the possibility of migrating to 512M-bit DDR chips in the future, Infineon said.

As part of the deal, Winbond will upgrade its wafer plants using Infineon's 0.11-micron process, which enables more chips to be produced on a single wafer compared with the 0.13-micron process currently used by Winbond. Volume production using the 0.11-micron process is expected to begin in 2003, Winbond said in a statement.

Under the terms of the agreement with Mosel Vitelic, Infineon has increased its share of the output from their Taiwan-based joint venture, ProMOS Technologies Inc., from 38 to 48 percent.

ProMOS currently operates one 200-millimeter (8-inch) wafer plant in Hsinchu, Taiwan, with an output of 40,000 wafers per month. The company is also building a 300-millimeter wafer plant that is expected to enter volume production later this year.

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Sumner Lemon

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