Micron wants to take over the remaining interest

Oct

19

2018

of Intel’s 3D XPoint flash factory
Micron wants to take over the remaining interest that Intel has in the 3D XPoint flash factory. Micron and Intel developed the memory together in a joint venture, but announced earlier to stop. Micron expects to have to pay 1.5 billion dollars.

Micron says it will start the acquisition on 1 January 2019 and expects it to take between six and twelve months for the deal to be completed. When that happens, Micron has all the facilities of IM Flash Technologies, including the factory in Utah where 3D XPoint memory is made. Intel uses that memory for its Optane SSDs.

Part of the deal is that Micron will deliver wafers with 3D XPoint memory to Intel at the current prices up to a year after the conclusion of the agreement. If Intel wants to continue to outsource Optane products, it will have to conclude a new agreement with Micron.

At the beginning of this year, Intel and Micron announced that they would discontinue their cooperation. In July, the companies clarified that they will continue until the second half of 2019, in order to complete the development of the second generation 3D XPoint.

The two companies use the same memory technology, but develop products separately. Micron does that with the QuantX name and Intel with Optane. Micron has not yet put any products on the market, Intel does. Micron says that it works with manufacturers and that QuantX products will be released on the market by the end of 2019.

Intel and Micron started the cooperation for the development of flash memory in 2006. In 2012 Intel reduced all its importance in IMFT, leaving only the fab in Utah as shared property. The companies do not care about the reason why the collaboration stops. This may be due to disagreement about production methods. If Micron gets the full interest, it can determine the roadmap for the further development of the memory itself.

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