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IBM, Sony, SCE and Toshiba to Jointly Develop Chip-Making Process Technology

Powerful Alliance is Formed for Semiconductor Processes

TOKYO, JAPAN & EAST FISHKILL, N.Y - 02 Apr 2002: In a unique collaboration, IBM, Sony Corporation, Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. and Toshiba Corporation have signed a multi-year agreement to jointly develop advanced semiconductor technologies based on silicon-on-insulator (SOI) and other IBM materials advances. This will lead to the development of high-performance, low-power chips necessary for a wide range of future electronic products - - from digital consumer applications to supercomputers.

The team will spend several hundred million dollars over four years to develop new process technologies for building chips with features as small as 50 nanometers on 300 mm wafers. Smaller features mean more can be packed on a single chip. The parties plan to use this technology to create system-on-chip (SoC) designs, integrating processor, memory and communications functions, which normally are found on separate chips within a device.

The new processes are expected to be the world's most sophisticated, incorporating advanced chip-making materials pioneered by IBM, such as copper wiring, silicon-on-insulator (SOI) transistors and "low-k" insulation. The use of new designs and materials will be guided by the applications requirements of Sony, one of the world's largest consumers of semiconductors. Toshiba will contribute its high-volume manufacturing capability and SoC technology expertise to meet targeted performance and quality levels.

"The PC is no longer the driving force in semiconductor innovation," said John Kelly, senior vice president and group executive for the IBM Technology Group. "Networking and consumer electronics applications are driving the evolution of a new semiconductor industry -- one based on closer collaboration with customers. This alliance is powerful because of the talents and technologies involved; it is unique in the depth to which the customer is involved, not just in the design of chips for their products, but in the very way they are manufactured."

"Having IBM and Toshiba's technologies with Sony's vast experience and knowledge of the consumer market, truly makes this alliance a winning combination," said Ken Kutaragi, president and CEO, Sony Computer Entertainment and director, Sony Corporation. "Incorporation of these cutting-edge process technologies into various audio, visual and IT products as well as to the computer entertainment system, is expected to bring even higher competitive power to the entire Sony Group."

"Technologies like SOI are essential for high-end and low-power SoC," said Takeshi Nakagawa, corporate senior vice president of Toshiba Corporation and president of Toshiba's Semiconductor Company. "We expect collaboration on SOI process technology to advance joint-development of the next generation broadband processor, and to provide a strong underpinning to our development of leading-edge products. We will apply SOI process technology to broadband processor-based LSI for such applications as a high-speed home gateway and future low-power mobile products."

In a separate agreement, IBM will transfer the latest SOI technologies to Sony and Toshiba. The development work will be conducted by a team of scientists and engineers from all parties at the IBM Semiconductor Research and Development Center (SRDC) in East Fishkill, N.Y. Each party then will have the ability to build the advanced chips in its own manufacturing facilities, products and applications, and for its own semiconductor business customers. A significant portion of IBM's soon-to-be-completed, 300 mm wafer manufacturing facility in East Fishkill will be dedicated to these new processes.

The new alliance framework enhances Sony and IBM's existing collaborative structure by adding the strengths of Toshiba's versatile manufacturing expertise, as the second largest in the semiconductor industry. Integration of the strengths of the parties will facilitate achievement of advanced process technologies for a broad range of products and applications.

Contact(s) information

Michael Loughran
IBM Media Relations
(845) 892-5463

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