UK Newcomer Memory Corp Plc was going to have to do something drastic to cling on in the face of memory prices crashing down around it, so it has bailed out as an integrator of commodity dynamic RAM modules and reinvented itself as a technology licensor. The Edinburgh, Scotland-based company which turned in a very sickly set of results just six months ago, reckons it has already reversed the downhill trend, in spite of reporting year-end losses well up on last year. Losses for the year to December were 4.5m pounds, up from last year’s losses of 2.0m pounds, but revenue was 1.1m pounds, up from 450,000 last time pounds. Although shares were down sevenpence at 45.5 pence, they were nowhere near the all time low of 28.5 pence they plunged to at the half-year stage. In September, with the writing plainly on the wall, the company bought in a new management team, with Silicon Valley veteran Bill Hipp taking over as chairman and David Savage, a Brit who’d been working in the Valley, as chief executive, from Alex Deas. Deas has since bought Memory’s Russian operation off it and left the company. Hipp and Savage have turned the focus of the company around to that of a fab-less semiconductor company, says Hipp. This time last year we were seen as a chip repairer he says. The company, he insists, is now an intellectual property supplier for application specific integrated circuits or ASICs. The chip repairer tag comes from Memory’s technology, which bypasses faulty cells on a less than perfect chip. In an early fabrication run, DRAM manufacturers can expect to get only 2% to 3% perfect circuits, the company says. One technique to improve this is internal redundancy, where more rows and columns are added than are needed, so that damaged ones can be burned off and re-routed. Memory’s VCM Variance Controlled Memory technology provides external redundancy, where a memory module is added to the circuit to perform the redundancy externally. The company both wrote the testing software that identifies damaged circuits and designed the memory module that fixes it. It is the software and design part of its business on which it now hopes to capitalize. It will continue to contract out the manufacture of the memory modules, which it then sells as a finished article including software on the chip to manufacturers. This it hopes will provide its bread and butter, while it goes after major licensing deals with the ‘big 12’ DRAM manufacturers of the world, to provide added value to commodity memory. The added value will be either improvements in cost, functionality or performance. The company signed its first major licensee, an unamed US electronics company at the end of last year, and says it will not go after the next one until it has everything up and running with the first. Memory canceled its distribution agreement with Sumitomo Corp (CI No 2,864), but will sign a new agreement reflecting its technology licensing business, under which it will look to Sumitomo to open doors for it in Japan and the Far East. As well as 16Ms, the company is developing technology for the emerging 64M-bit parts, static RAM, Flash memory and solid state storage. Hipp says the business grew towards the end of the year. It raised 1.5m pounds before Christmas, and he is confident it has enough cash to see it over the crisis.