<p>Based on current customer forecasts, the company expects net revenues will be in the range of $13.0 million to $14.5 million for the quarter ending March 31, with financial results ranging from a pre-tax loss of $0.02 per diluted share to pre-tax earnings of $0.05 per diluted share.</p>

Glad to hear about the IC recovery. Too bad Freescale Semiconductor Inc. is cutting back and handing out pink slips.

EE Times: How long had the deal to make a NAND flash memory joint venture with Intel been in the making? And does Intel get the benefit of guaranteed chip supply from IM Flash while Micron is left with the cares and responsibilities of fab ownership?

Steve Appleton: Well, a few months. But we’ve been working with Intel for years. They invested $500 million in Micron in 1998 and less than $500 million in about 2003, so we’ve also been working with them for a long time.

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The joint venture is 51 percent Micron and 49 percent Intel. That’s the way the capital works and, going forward, that's the way we’ll split additional capital contributions. Now some facilities we already had were not full, so some spaces in some shells are leased to IM Flash.

A Boise 8-inch fab is making flash today, and that is now running through the joint venture. Our Virginia facility is 50 percent DRAM. But the big facility in Utah has been contributed into the joint venture.

EE Times: If pursuit of the NAND flash market is such a good idea, why didn’t Micron borrow from bankers, go it alone and keep all the profits for itself and its shareholders? Why let Intel in?

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Steve Appleton: The strength of Intel should not be underestimated; in NOR flash, in multi-layer cell technology, and in channels to market. Could we have gone on our own? Yes. But it is a question of time. We think NAND flash is going to see 100 percent annual bit growth for several years; it was something like 300 percent last year. Of course the actual selling price and revenue growth will vary, but we needed to move fast.

We were a small player in the flash market, and we could have got there in the end, but the market is growing so fast that teaming up was the way to go.

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EE Times: The IM Flash deal is a 10-year agreement with Intel; some researchers think that is longer than flash can continue scaling. Are other non-volatile technologies, such as phase-change memory, included in the scope of IM Flash?

Steve Appleton: We’re pretty confident down to the 35-nanometer range, we’re already down there in research. Now there could be some other technology that comes along, so we need to be aware. The joint venture does not have a mandatory requirement to restrict itself to flash.

Camarillo, Calif. — Semtech Corp. has developed a two-line protection device with a wide operating voltage range and low clamping voltage specifically for ADSL and other wide area networking (WAN) equipment. The device meets IEC standards for ESD, EFT and lightning protection.

With a high surge capability, the RClamp7002M protection device helps shield sensitive circuits in central office (CO) equipment or customer premise equipment (CPE) from power transients caused by high-energy electrostatic discharge (ESD), cable discharge events (CDE), electrical fast transients (EFT) or lightning.

Designed in collaboration with a major DSL chipset company to ensure that the protection device meets the needs of next-generation devices, the RClamp7002M offers an operating voltage range from 3.3 V to 70 V, with the device connecting to the positive power supply rail (Vcc) and the ground (GND) to match the system voltage within that range. With this wide operating range, the device can be designed into a CO system that uses -48-V power, said the company.

The RClamp 7002M maintains a low clamping voltage through the use of surge rated, low capacitance steering diodes, each of which features a large area junction. Key features include a low clamping voltage of 10 V (IPP= 40 A), a low capacitance of 10 pF, and a 1,000-watt peak pulse power (8/20 microseconds).

The trouble is that the Sleeping Giant &#151 China &#151 is slowly but surely taking more and more of the manufacturing pie &#151 at the expense of Singapore, Taiwan, and, to a lesser degree, Korea.

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