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February 2, 1999

INTEL MAY INVEST IN TOSHIBA AS PART OF RAMBUS PUSH

By CBR Staff Writer

Toshiba Corp looks to have become the next beneficiary of Intel Corp’s funding efforts to support the transition over from SDRAM over to direct Rambus memory chips. Although Intel hadn’t confirmed the move as we went to press, widespread reports were suggesting that it had offered Toshiba an investment proposal to support Toshiba’s planned move to Rambus DRAM. Toshiba is said to be considering the offer as it finalizes its plans for the move. Intel has recently invested $500m in Micron Technology Inc and $100m in Samsung Electric Co to help keep up momentum for the shift in a market that has spent the last year struggling against over supply and falling prices. Other investments have been rumored, including a possible $500m for Hyundai Electric Co after its acquisition of LG Semicon is complete (CI No 3,574). Toshiba is already on record with plans to begin mass producing 128 and 144Mbit Rambus DRAMs in mid-1999, while Samsung, NEC Corp and LG Semicon have planned earlier market entries with 64 and 72Mbit parts. It’s crucial for Intel to have supply available for when its 820 Camino chipset, the first to support Rambus DRAM, is introduced some time in the second quarter. Strong demand from PC manufacturers such as Compaq Computer Corp and Dell Computer Corp is expected. Last month, Rambus Inc itself was quoting estimates that around 50 million units might be shipped before the end of the year (CI No 3,576).

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