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Toshiba borgs into IBM's 32nm alliance

Intel stays outside the tent

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Toshiba confirmed yesterday that it had joined a 32-nanometre chip development group led by IBM and made up of a number of key industry players minus top dog Intel.

The alliance has been formed over the past few months in an attempt to push down spiralling development costs in the switch to the new geometery, which are proving increasingly difficult for any lone chip-maker to stomach.

Toshiba is the latest firm to climb on board alongside AMD, Samsung Electronics, Freescale, Germany's Infineon Technologies AG and Singapore's Chartered Semiconductor Manufacturing.

The seven firms will work together over the next three years to design and develop manufacturing technologies that shrink the average circuit feature to 32-nanometres. It's fair to say the alliance is relatively loose - they haven't even bothered to think up a grand-sounding name for the group.

The industry is only just beginning to ship 45-nanometre chips in volume, but the shift to a new geometry is always a long-haul.

Intel, which is expected to begin production of 32-nanometre chips in 2009, remains notably absent from the alliance.

Presumably the chip giant is happy to shoulder any development costs on its own, while the combined group will doubtless be hoping to take a bite out of Intel's hefty market share. ®

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