AMD Flash: Gordon Bennett, it's a snafu

But questions remain over FASL jv

A senior executive at AMD's European memory group today absolutely quashed suggestions that its eight year joint venture with Fujitsu is on any kind of rocks or in any kind of a hard place. That follows a classic case of the left hand not knowing what the right hand was doing at the CeBIT Messe last week. Peter Heinrich, European marketing manager of the group, also said there were no plans, "in the foreseeable future", to use its state-of-the-art microprocessor fab in Dresden to produce Flash, but did agree that there is a wideworld shortage of the product. Heinrich said about FASL (Fujitsu AMD Semiconductor Logic): "The two companies [Fujitsu and AMD] have had a 50/50 joint venture to manufacture Flash. Both Fujitsu and AMD have the rights to this technology on a 50/50 basis." FASL, he said, is purely a manufacturing joint venture, and although the company originally had two fabs in Japan, is bring two more ex-Fujitsu memory foundries under its wing. "Fujitsu agreed to put idle fabs under FASL management," he said. The third fab was also based in Japan, while the fourth fab is in Gresham, Oregon. He explained: "There's a tremendous shortage of Flash capacity," citing figures that showed that while the market would amount to some $4.6 billion in 1999, demand this year is twice that. He said that when the joint venture started, AMD had five volt design and the know-how to produce Flash, while Fujitsu had the manufacturing capacity. That situation remained the same today, he said. FASL has over a 50 per cent market share in Flash memory worldwide, he claimed, and the relationship between Fujitsu and AMD was unchanged. FASL will invest $1 billion in extra capacity this year. with the Gresham, Oregon fab ramping up production during the year, Heinrich said. He did not raise the issue whether or not other mothballed Fujitsu fabs will be brought into the FASL deal, and declined to comment on the specifics of the joint venture. Executives at the microprocessor division of AMD had suggested last week that there were changes in the relationship. But Heinrich said this was an embarrassing misunderstanding. ® See also Ten month Flash memory drought ahead Fujitsu to cut DRAM production Micron, Infineon to win big with Fujitsu Filtronic fixes sight on former Fujitsu fab AMD takes Fujitsu foundry route Fujitsu and Toshiba pool DRAM efforts Fujitsu DRAM domino falls Fujitsu formally announces UK fab closure, Mandelson announces aid package The Register Number Five

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