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No chips for you! Toshiba takes flash off the menu for WDC

FAB grab confab goes bad

By Chris Mellor, 7 Aug 2017

The Toshiba vs. Western Digital flash foundry scrap has gone up a notch, with the former threatening to cut off the latter's future flash chip supplies.

The scrap started when Toshiba decided to go it alone on a ¥195bn ($1.76bn) plant named "Fab 6" that will make 96-layer 3D NAND manufacturing equipment. Western Digital (WDC) said it had rights to invest too. Toshiba disagreed and has now said it's so fed up with its frenemy that it won't let it have get any chips made by the plant.

A Toshiba statement issued on Friday, Aug 4, said; “Toshiba is dismayed by Western Digital’s pattern of exaggerating SanDisk’s rights under the relevant agreements. Despite claims to the contrary, Western Digital does not now possess any legal “rights” to participate in this phase of investment, which is an important investment in the next generation of flash memory.

“As has been widely reported, Toshiba and SanDisk have been in negotiations regarding Fab 6 for several months. Toshiba provided an investment proposal to SanDisk earlier this year. Despite numerous meetings and negotiations, including at the CEO to CEO level, Toshiba’s proposal was not accepted on the timetable set out in the agreements.”

The Toshiba statement then laid it all on the line: “Toshiba is therefore moving forward with our investment in Fab 6 without Western Digital/SanDisk’s participation. Unfortunately, our negotiations with Western Digital on this matter did not lead to agreement; and under our existing contracts, we have no legal obligation to permit Western Digital’s participation in this investment phase, as of now or in the future.

"As of today, SanDisk will not receive any capacity from Fab 6 (scheduled to start production in summer 2018), which includes the latest generation of 96-layer BiCS memory products."

Oh no you don’t replied WDC, offering the following as a riposte:

“The JV operations are governed by agreements entered into by both partners. The agreements give our subsidiary SanDisk priority to participate in expansions and conversions of JV capacity, including for the latest generation of 96-layer BiCS flash memory products, through joint investments in Fab 6 equipment, and that is exactly what we intend to do. The terms of the agreements and our related legal rights are clear, and we remain confident that we will receive our share of any capacity from Fab 6. We are continuing our constructive dialogue with Toshiba on this and other matters.”

A constructive dialogue? If this kind of stuff is constructive, The Reg imagines Brexit negotiations will involve a boxing ring and months of non-stop combat.

This pair of jousting corporate elephants are providing lots of copy for us hacks but, jeez guys, get a life and sort this out. ®

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