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Vanguard bites into Powerchip

DRAM consolidation, Taiwan-style

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Vanguard (VIS), the Taiwanese DRAM maker, is paying Mitsubishi (and other unnamed owners) $84 million for an 11 per cent stake in local rival PowerChip. Vanguard, Mitsubishi and Powerchip say they will work together on DRAM design and manufacturing. This will help them keep up with the Koreans and Micron, of the US. Mitsubishi, which retains six per cent of Powerchip, will license 0.18 micron technology for 64Mb and 128Mb DRAM technology to VIS and it will co-develop 0.15-micron technology. It's going to take VIS a wee while to gear up on the production front. So in the meantime Powerchip will OEM under the VIS brand 0.25-micron and 0.18-micron technology 8Mx8 SDRAM from August 1999 and February 2000, respectively. Vanguard is described as affiliate of foundry giant Taiwan Semicon (TSMC), which owns 26.7 per cent of the company. Earlier this month, TSMC took a 35 per cent stake in Acer Semiconductor. It plans to shut down DRAM manufacture at Acer Semicon and turn it into a pure foundry company. According to Taiwanese reports, VIS is negotiating to buy Acer's stock of 64Mbit SDRAM wafers to sell under the Vanguard brand. ®

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