Intel to Put Billions into Flash Memory

BOSTON (05/23/2000) - Intel Corp. announced yesterday that it would invests billions of dollars over the next two years to help meet the demand for flash chips in wireless communications. Personal computer manufacturer Fujitsu is following close behind with a new flash facility just north of Tokyo.

Santa Clara, California-based Intel said yesterday it sold its one billionth flash chip since 1988. The chip manufacturer plans to aggressively step up its production process to put out one billion more in the next 24 months, the company said in a statement.

Intel said it plans to produce four times as many flash megabytes next year as it did last year, by switching from 0.25-micron technology to 0.18-micron production.

That transition will allow Intel to almost double the number of chips it produces on each wafer. The company started using 0.18-micron lithography to produce chips in its Santa Clara facility, and will be using 0.18-micron technology in Oregon, New Mexico and the dedicated flash chip facility in Colorado.

Fujitsu is set to announce a partnership today with Advanced Micro Devices Inc.

(AMD) for a new production plant, according to a statement on its Web site. The joint venture is worth approximately 140 billion yen or $1.4 billion.

Flash chips store data when a device is powered off. The bulk of the chips are used in cellular phones, with 45 percent of the first billion chips used in cellular devices, the company said. Intel projects the wireless market will continue to grow rapidly and consume 66 percent of the next billion flash chips.

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