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Toshiba, Fujitsu in Chip Development Pact

Shrugging aside widespread turmoil in the chipmaking space, Japanese rivals Toshiba and Fujitsu on Wednesday announced a collaboration deal to design and develop on system-on-chip (SoC) semiconductors.

While it's not the first time the two companies are walking arm-in-arm, many see it as a sign of consolidation in the battered chip group, which is facing a Justice Department investigation into allegations of anti-competitive practices.

Under terms of the pact, Toshiba and Fujitsu plan to develop advanced semiconductors for communications and other fields, and design and develop platforms and new silicon technology.

The deal could see the development of SoC software at 100 nanometers and finer, the super-tiny, high-capacity circuits that promise to improve a chip's processing speed.

The two companies are already part of an alliance between five Japanese electronics behemoths involved in a Government-finance project to develop the next-generation chip technologies. The companies teaming up on that project also includes NEC Corp., Hitachi and Mitsubishi.

Under the latest partnership, Toshiba and Fujitsu plan to establish joint working groups to deliberate the standardization of design and development platforms and silicon technology, co-development of processor cores and joint development of advanced LSIs for communications and other fields.

Fujitsu and Toshiba already have a history of holding hands on chipmaking technology. Back in 1998, the two companies teamed up to develop 0.13 micron-level DRAM technologies. Under that deal, a joint project team of approximately 100 researchers worked to build ultra high-density 0.13-micron process technology, device technologies, product design and prototype fabrication for 1-gigabit-generation DRAM devices.