Sony is expected to withdraw from joint research with IBM and Toshiba to develop the manufacturing technology for producing chips with circuitry of 32 nanometers or less. This step is aligned with the company’s focus on strengthening its core electronics business and cutting down the losses in its Game unit.
In October 2007, Sony announced its plans to work with IBM and Toshiba on advanced semiconductor manufacturing technologies for next-generation chips for its PlayStation (PS) business. According to last month’s agreement, Sony sold its production lines for making the Cell microprocessors and RSX graphics chips used in its PS3 gear to Toshiba. It had also reported that it would no longer invest in IBM operations but would continue to work on research on the advanced chips partnerships.
Given the sale plan, it would be unreasonable for us to continue research on manufacturing technologies for next-generation chips, said Tomio Takizawa, a spokesperson at Sony. But the group is in talks with IBM and Toshiba to review the project. The company intends to continue working with Toshiba and IBM on design work for the 45-nanometer chips or narrow circuitry.
Takizawa also said that the Semiconductor unit of the business would focus mainly on manufacturing sensors used in high-vision handycam and digital camera. Sony, in an attempt to refocus on its core electronics business, has been distancing itself from the investment-intensive production of advanced semiconductors.
The company had invested heavily in the development of Cell Broadband Engine architecture in PlayStation 3 game console. The gaming unit of the company, however, is still losing money facing tough competition from rival Nintendo’s Wii Console. In its second quarter earning release, the company declared a loss in its gaming division amounting to $841m due to pricing of PS3 at point lower than production cost.
Source: ComputerWire daily updates