Nec And Samsung Pool Their Chips

Two semiconductor hold-outs appear to be heading into a strategic alliance. Later this month, Japan's NEC and Samsung Electronics of South Korea will agree to swap research data on the basic technology for 256-megabit dynamic random-access memory (DRAM) chips. Such devices should become mainstream in computers toward the end of this decade, but building them is a lot like trying to draw a street map of the entire world on your fingernail. Most DRAM players already have formed partnerships to share costs and risks: Hitachi with Texas Instruments, Fujitsu with Hyundai, and IBM with Toshiba and Siemens. NEC, with $7.7 billion in semiconductor sales, has produced some stunning designs for DRAM "cells." But Samsung enjoys strong government backing, and its coffers are flush with cash.

To continue reading this article you must be a Bloomberg Professional Service Subscriber.