Sony Adds Focus on Semiconductors

Japanese consumer electronics and Internet powerhouse Sony earlier this week signalled the importance of semiconductor design and development to its business by establishing a new in-house semiconductor division.

The new unit, the semiconductor network company (SNC), is Sony's fifth in-house division and joins the home network company, personal IT network company, core technology and network company and communication system solutions network company. Takeo Minomiya, corporate senior vice president will head the new unit as president.

SNC will concentrate on design of system LSI (large scale integrated circuits) chips for its own use. Such chips are custom-designed integrated circuits designed for a single job. For equipment makers, the chips usually mean a reduction in the number of components inside devices enabling them to make smaller products that consume less power.

The new company will also work to further develop components already made by Sony, such as CCDs (charge coupled devices) for digital cameras, and provide central management of the company's component factories in Japan, Thailand and the U.S.

Earlier this month, rival Mitsubishi Electric Corp. announced plans to invest an additional 50 billion yen (US$47 million) in its system LSI business. [See "Mitsubishi to Invest Extra $US472M in Semiconductors," July 5.]Sony, in Tokyo, can be contacted at +81-3-5448-2111 or online at http://www.sony.co.jp/.

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