Infineon and Saifun Forge Ahead with Activities for Flash Memories - Joint Venture will Extend its Activities to the Code Flash Market
Dresden, 20 February 2003 Infineon Technologies and Saifun Semiconductors today announced the founding of Infineon Technologies Flash GmbH & Co. KG, marking a significant expansion of their flash memory business. With this move, Infineon is continuing to develop in line with its strategy agenda 5-to-1 in the direction of becoming a solution provider.
Infineon is currently the third largest provider of memory chips for personal computers, PDAs, servers, and graphics cards (DRAMs). The formation of Infineon Technologies Flash GmbH & Co. KG, paves the way for Infineon and Saifun to also address the burgeoning market for flash memory. In future, the joint venture activity will enable Infineon to integrate DRAM and flash expertise in new and innovative product generations. Infineon Flash stems from the Ingentix joint venture set up in 2001 by Infineon and the Israeli company Saifun. Infineon now holds 70 percent of the joint venture with headquarters in Dresden.
Thanks to our well-proven 200-mm process technology, we are ideally equipped for the production of flash memory in Dresden. Infineon Flash intends to exploit Infineons outstanding manufacturing cost position in order to establish itself in the market for flash memory products, said Dr. Harald Eggers, responsible for the memory business at Infineon, on the occasion of announcing Infineon Flash. The DRAM products of Infineon and the flash products of the joint venture will be produced with the same equipment. We are now starting to set up a development centre for further products. It is planned to create around 40 new jobs in the near future in Dresden.
The extension of our joint activity with Infineon is another course of making Saifun NROMä technology the technology of choice in the market for non-volatile memory, said Dr. Boaz Eitan, Saifuns President and CEO. The synergy of Infineon production and marketing abilities with Saifun technology and R&D abilities is putting Infineon Flash in a great position to become a leader in the flash market.
Flash memory products are also known as non-volatile memories, which reliably save the information they have stored even after the operating voltage has been turned off. Data flash memories are used as flexible data storage devices in mobile telephones, personal digital assistants (PDAs), digital cameras, MP3 players and numerous other products from the fields of entertainment electronics and industrial electronics. Program flash memories (or Code Flash) are used as memories for software in personal computers, mobile telephones and other electronic devices. Embedded flash memories are used to equip chipcards, which are increasingly utilised as cashcards and ID cards. Infineon has been market leader with its chipcard ICs in this field for many years.
Infineon Flash is managed jointly by Dr. Peter Kücher (CEO), who previously was responsible for Infineons world leading 300-mm development and production, and by Ramy Langer (CMO) from Saifun who, prior to this engagement, held a position as Vice President Marketing and Sales at Tower Semiconductors.
In the past, our agreements with Saifun focused on data flash memories. Now we can also develop, produce and market program flash products. Extending our flash activities in this way will allow us to win a major share of a growth market and significantly expand our portfolio in memory solutions, said Dr. Kücher.
By setting up the company Ingentix in 2001, international customer relationships were already established, and will be utilised by Infineon Flash. The first customers are currently being supplied with product samples of 64 MB flash memories, said Ramy Langer.
Market researchers are predicting the worldwide market for flash memory of just under Euro 8 billion in 2002 will grow by an annual rate of 10 percent up to 2006.
The key driving forces for the growth of flash memories are increased use in mobile telephones and the rising demand in portable computers and digital cameras for transportable and integrated memories, which also retain their contents without voltage.
Volume production of the first data flash memories is scheduled to start in the second half of 2003 in Dresden. The first program flash memories will subsequently follow in early 2004. Infineon Flash not only produces the chips for the flash memory itself, but also the necessary controller chips, which are designed and tested by Infineon Flash Ltd., located at Netanya in Israel.
The extension of the flash activities is another example of Infineons commitment to Saifuns NROM technology. This technology stores two information units (bits) inside one cell and, as such, permits the construction of particularly small chips, which only use minimal electrical power. Compared to other flash memory technologies only NROM can be used for both data and program flash memories. Another advantage of NROM is the lower process complexity and NROM by this builds a profound basis for a sustained market entry in the flash memory market.
Infineon Technologies AG, Munich, Germany, offers semiconductor and system solutions for the automotive and industrial sectors, for applications in the wired communications markets, secure mobile solutions as well as memory products. With a global presence, Infineon operates in the US from San Jose, CA, in the Asia-Pacific region from Singapore and in Japan from Tokyo. In fiscal year 2002 (ending September), the company achieved sales of Euro 5.21 billion with about 30,400 employees worldwide. Infineon is listed on the DAX index of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange and on the New York Stock Exchange (ticker symbol: IFX). Further information is available at www.infineon.com.
Saifun Semiconductors Ltd. has developed a leading edge non-volatile memories (NVM) technology named Saifun NROM Technology. This technology enables production of the most cost-effective, high performance NVM products in the market. The Saifun NROM utilizes one concept, suitable for all NVM applications. Backed by strategic investors, Saifun partners with leading global semiconductor and electronic system suppliers to jointly accelerate the development of new NROM-based memory products. Saifun was founded in 1998 by Dr. Boaz Eitan. For more information, please see: www.saifun.com
Saifuns media relations contact:
Tel: +972-9-892-8430, Fax: +972-9-892-8431