Even though it seems to be quite clear that Sony Corp. wants to withdraw from chip production and development, the company still took time to release a statement claiming that it had not reached any agreements with Toshiba in regards selling off its chip manufacturing facilities.
“Sony has been saying for months it’s exploring ways to streamline its chip business. But nothing concrete has been decided,” Sony spokesman Tomio Takizawa told in a brief interview with Associated Press.
Last week Nikkei Japanese news-paper reported that Sony planned to sell production facilities for microprocessors and other chips to Toshiba for about Ґ100 billion ($869.7 million) and an agreement is likely to be reached within a few months. At the same time, Sony and Toshiba will establish a joint venture that will use these lines to manufacture system chips. Currently Sony Kyushu Semiconductor Corp. can produce a variety of chips using 65nm, 90nm, 180nm, 250nm and 350nm process technologies.
Toshiba Corp. spokesman Keisuke Omori also said that nothing has been decided on such a deal.
Earlier this year Sony withdrew from chip development collaboration with Nec and Toshiba. In fact, it was just a matter of time until Sony fully withdraws from chip making operations, which require high utilization rate to stay profitable. Given that Sony’s high-end PlayStation 3 game console is not the best seller, at least now, and the company’s digital media player business is struggling as well, the firm may not need its own manufacturing capacities for cutting-edge or even mainstream chips.
Toshiba, a leading maker of flash memory chips, will be able to boost its product portfolio with new chip offerings if it acquires Sony’s semiconductor business. Sony, on the other hand, will be able to concentrate on making competitive consumer electronics products that will not need to rely on the company’s in-house developed and produced chips.