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Hitachi capitulates to Rambus

Dramurai raise white flag: 'we surrender'

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Semiconductor firm Hitachi signed a deal with Rambus ending litigation between the companies and agreeing to pay royalties on synchronous memories and double data rate (DDR) memories.

Hitachi will pay Rambus a settlement fee and royalty payments for both RDRAM and any DDR or SDRAMs it chooses to manufacture.

And Rambus said it will charge more royalties for DDR and SDRAM memories than for its own RDRAM. That should equalise the current delta a little.

All the outstanding litigation, including one lodged by Hitachi claiming that Rambus was violating the US anti-monopolistic Sherman Act, has now come to an end.

The reasons for Hitachi's sudden capitulation are unclear, but it may be connected to the fact that the Japanese giant wants to flog its memory division to NEC, and this litigation has got in the way of that.

Last week Toshiba said it would license IP from Rambus for DDR and SDRAM memories. Any remaining anti-Rambus faction in the Dramurai are likely to follow suit real soon now.

So that's that then. Expect Rambus' share price (ticker: RMBS) to go through the roof when trading in Wall Street starts today.

The firm split its shares earlier in the week, and they closed hovering around the $100 mark on Wall Street last night.

But in after hours trading, they exceeded $100, so delivering a big Ramboost for shareholders. Effectively, Rambus has hit its pre-split target of $500.

Geoff Tate, chief executive officer of Rambus Ink said: "We believe our Rambus memory interface is the best solution for the majority of the market. Developing and marketing the Rambus memory interface has been and remains our top priority, but we are willing to license our IP for other memory interface solutions as well. We are pleased that Hitachi chose to license our patents for SDRAM, DDR SDRAM memory and controllers. We look forward to renewing a long-term relationship with Hitachi."

No financial terms were disclosed.

Perhaps Via had better start packaging those DDR 266 t-shirts up, in readiness for shipping from Taipei to Mountain View, and make sure it doesn't prevent senior executives from getting into its DDR seminars any more. ®

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