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posted by Fnord666 on Wednesday April 19 2017, @10:17PM   Printer-friendly
from the trying-to-remember dept.

A joint bid by the U.S. company Broadcom Limited and the Japanese government may keep Toshiba's chip business out of the hands of China or South Korea:

A Japanese government-backed fund and policy bank are considering a joint bid with Broadcom Ltd for Toshiba Corp's semiconductor business, a move that would vault the U.S. chipmaker into the lead to buy the prized unit, the Asahi newspaper said on Wednesday.

A bid by Innovation Network Corp of Japan and the Development Bank of Japan with Broadcom would appear to be aimed at preventing Toshiba's chip technology from going to rivals in China or South Korea, the Asahi said, citing an unidentified source.

INCJ Chairman Toshiyuki Shiga said on Tuesday the fund was looking at the chip auction although it had not participated in the first round of bidding. People familiar with the matter have told Reuters INCJ might invest in the business as a minority partner - a move that would help the government prevent a sale to bidders it deems risky to national security.

Previously: Toshiba and SanDisk Announce 48-Layer 256 Gb 3D NAND
Toshiba in Trouble
Toshiba Teasing QLC 3D NAND and TSV for More Layers
Toshiba Envisions a 100 TB QLC SSD in the "Near Future"
Toshiba Considers NAND Business Split; Samsung Delays Release of 4 TB SSDs (WD is a bidder)
SK Hynix to Bid for Toshiba's Memory Business
Toshiba Nuked Half its Assets
Huge Nuclear Cost Overruns Push Toshiba's Westinghouse Into Bankruptcy
Toshiba Warns That its Survival is at Risk

Original Submission

Related Stories

Toshiba and SanDisk Announce 48-Layer 256 Gb 3D NAND 1 comment

Toshiba and SanDisk have announced the development of a new 3D NAND product (called V-NAND by Samsung). It uses 48 layers of triple-level cell (TLC) NAND to store 256 Gb (32 GB) in a single die. It is expected to sample in September, and appear in solid-state drives and other products in the second half of 2016. However, the two companies will face plenty of competition. From Anandtech:

The new 3D NAND will face experienced competition from Samsung who are currently shipping 32-layer 3D NAND in capacities up to 128Gb for both MLC and TLC configurations. Samsung has also announced its third generation V-NAND which should be starting mass production in the latter half of this year. Meanwhile, Intel and Micron have stated that their 32-layer 3D NAND will be in mass production by the fourth quarter of this year in the form of a 256Gb MLC die and a 384Gb TLC die. SK Hynix is to begin mass production of a 36-layer 128Gb MLC die during the third quarter and is working toward a 48-layer TLC that will be available in 2016.

All of the major flash manufacturers have now publicized their plans for introducing 3D NAND. Planar NAND won't be disappearing overnight or even in a year, as it takes a lot of time and money to convert a fab to a new process. But from here on out, we can expect all the most interesting news about NAND flash memory to be about 3D.

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Toshiba in Trouble 22 comments

After the big accounting scandal that came to light earlier this year, now they have announced ~7000 layoffs at Toshiba, mostly in Japan, but some worldwide.

This article says that the PC division will continue. Another source suggests that the PC division may be sold off. Anyone want to speculate about potential buyers?

Also at BBC, NYT.

Original Submission

Toshiba Teasing QLC 3D NAND and TSV for More Layers

The wide adoption of 3D/vertical NAND with increased feature sizes and endurance will apparently lead to the introduction of low-cost QLC (4 bits per cell) NAND. 3D NAND's increased flash cell size and overprovisioning will counteract the reduction in endurance caused by moving from 3 to 4 bits per cell:

We covered the TSV [Through Silicon Vias] notion here and now take a look at quadruple level cell (QLC) flash technology. Toshiba will present on this and TSVs in a keynote session at the August 6-9 Flash Memory Summit in Santa Clara. The session abstract notes: "New technologies such as QLC (Quadruple Level Cell) BiCS FLASH offer high density, low-cost solutions, while TSV (Through Silicon Via) NAND offers high performance with significant power reduction."

To recap, BiCS stands for Bit Cost Scalable and is Toshiba and flash foundry partner WDC's approach to 3D NAND, the layering of ordinary or planer (2D) NAND chips atop each other. We have 48-layer cells in production and 64-layer ones coming with 96-layer and even 128-layer chips in prospect. Progress beyond 64-layers has problems due to the difficulties in etching holes through the layers and so the TSV idea is to have two layers of layering: two 64-layer chips one on top of the other, with holes through them both, TSVs, for wiring to hold them together and carry out cell activity functions as well.

[...] Back in March, Jeff Ohshima, a Toshiba executive, presented on TSVs and QLC flash at the Non-Volatile Memory Workshop and suggested 88TB QLC 3D NAND SSDs with a 500 write cycle life could be put into production. The Flash Memory Summit keynote could add more colour to this.


Toshiba and SanDisk Announce 48-Layer 256 Gb 3D NAND
Toshiba Brings Through-Silicon Vias to NAND Flash
Western Digital, SanDisk, and the NAND Market
"String-Stacking" Being Developed to Enable 3D NAND With More Than 100 Layers (NAND devices with 64 layers and above will be difficult to create, so stacking 48-layer devices will be used to increase density)

Original Submission

Toshiba Envisions a 100 TB QLC SSD in the "Near Future" 11 comments

Forget the 60 TB SSD. Toshiba is teasing a possible 100 TB SSD:

The Flash Memory Summit saw Toshiba deliver a presentation about quad level cell (QLC) technology – adding substantially to the prospect of a product being delivered in the "near future". We have heard about this QLC (4bits/cell NAND technology) quite recently.

After Seagate tantalised us with a 60TB SSD, along comes Toshiba with a 100TB QLC SSD concept.

Flash Memory Summit attendees saw Toshiba presenters put flesh on the bones and envisage a QLC 3D SSD with a PCIe gen 3 interface and more than 100TB of capacity. It would have 3GB/sec sequential read bandwidth and 1GB/sec sequential write bandwidth. It would do random reading and writing at 50,000 and 14,000 IOPS respectively. The active state power consumption would be 9 watts, the same as a 3.5-inch, 8TB SATA 6Gbit/s disk drive, while the idle power consumption be less than 100 mWatts, compared to the disk drive's 8 watts.

Even if the "near future" isn't so near, or the final capacity does not end up at around 100 TB, it is still interesting to see 3D NAND technology enabling a serious push for 4-bits-per-cell NAND, which would normally face endurance issues.

Original Submission

Toshiba Considers NAND Business Split; Samsung Delays Release of 4 TB SSDs 12 comments

Toshiba is considering splitting its NAND business into a separate company and selling a stake in it to Western Digital or another investor:

In the recent months, Toshiba ran into a new accounting scandal that may require it to write down as much as 4 billion dollars because of cost overruns at its U.S. nuclear power business. The exact number has not been finalized, but the company is already studying various possibilities to offset the massive loss, which would anger its investors after the company already faced an accounting scandal in 2015. Nikkei reports that Toshiba is mulling to spin off its semiconductor business into a separate entity and then sell a 20% in the new company to someone like Western Digital for about $2.7 billion, while retaining 80% stake as well as operational control of the unit. Toshiba confirmed that it is studying the possibility of its memory business spin-off, but noted that no decision has been made and that the in-house NAND production is a focal business.

Toshiba and Western Digital already operate the world's largest NAND flash production complex in Yokkaichi, Mie prefecture, Japan. Formally, the manufacturing facilities belong to joint ventures between the two companies and WD buys wafers from Toshiba. It is not completely clear how the spinoff would work in this case and which parts of Toshiba's business will be up for sale.

Also at Tom's Hardware.


SK Hynix to Bid for Toshiba's Memory Business

Toshiba continues to look for a buyer for its memory business:

South Korea's SK Hynix Inc has entered the running for a stake in Toshiba Corp's memory chip business, seeing an opportunity to gain on rivals in the booming NAND market, a person familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.

The world's No. 2 memory chip maker had submitted an initial bid, although the size of the stake it wanted to acquire had not been decided, the source told Reuters, requesting anonymity as they were not authorized to speak publicly on the deal.

[...] Toshiba aims to raise more than 200 billion yen ($1.7 billion) from the less-than 20 percent stake in its memory business, sources have said. The sale is part of a broader sell-off to cover multi-billion dollar writedowns stemming from its U.S. nuclear power unit.

Previously: Toshiba Teasing QLC 3D NAND and TSV for More Layers
Toshiba Envisions a 100 TB QLC SSD in the "Near Future"
Toshiba Considers NAND Business Split; Samsung Delays Release of 4 TB SSDs

Original Submission

Toshiba Nuked Half its Assets 35 comments

A large majority of geeks are enamored with nuclear power -- it's very cool technology after all. The problem of course, is that a nuclear power plant is a complex piece of machinery and successfully building one to operate safely is a delicate task, a lesson Toshiba learned the hard way:

Those troubled projects in the American South are now threatening the Japanese icon's foundations. The value of Toshiba shares has been cut in half over the last six weeks, wiping out more than $7 billion in market value.

It appears a huge part of the problem stems from reliance on a pipe supplier. James Bernhard Jr. bought a pipe fabrication business ("Shaw") for $50k in a bankruptcy deal and then used his awesome dealmaking ability to parlay that into becoming Toshiba's plumber. Of course, in the modern world being a great businessman means sucking money down like a frat boy at a keg, and Bernhard went on to sell Shaw for $3.3 billion even while screwing up all the pipes (from TFA linked above):

After Westinghouse hired Shaw to handle construction in 2008, it wasn't long before the company's work came under scrutiny. By early 2012, NRC inspectors found steel in the foundation of one reactor had been installed improperly. A 300-ton reactor vessel nearly fell off a rail car. The wrong welds were used on nuclear modules and had to be redone. Shaw "clearly lacked experience in the nuclear power industry and was not prepared for the rigor and attention to detail required,'' Bill Jacobs, who had been selected as the state's monitor for the project, told the Georgia Public Service Commission in late 2012.

So there you have it. The reason some geeks (me for example) oppose nuclear power has nothing to do with the technology, and absolutely everything to do with the morons who run it. Businessmen being in charge of this technology means it will never achieve its potential and that it will always be dangerous, because by the time something goes wrong, they'll be spending their billions on hookers and blow in some remote private tropical island paradise, far far away from any consequences of any kind.

Original Submission

Huge Nuclear Cost Overruns Push Toshiba's Westinghouse Into Bankruptcy 34 comments

Westinghouse Electric Company has filed for bankruptcy:

Westinghouse Electric Co, a unit of Japanese conglomerate Toshiba Corp, filed for bankruptcy on Wednesday, hit by billions of dollars of cost overruns at four nuclear reactors under construction in the U.S. Southeast.

The bankruptcy casts doubt on the future of the first new U.S. nuclear power plants in three decades, which were scheduled to begin producing power as soon as this week, but are now years behind schedule.

The four reactors are part of two projects known as V.C. Summer in South Carolina, which is majority owned by SCANA Corp, and Vogtle in Georgia, which is owned by a group of utilities led by Southern Co.

Costs for the projects have soared due to increased safety demands by U.S. regulators, and also due to significantly higher-than-anticipated costs for labor, equipment and components.

Pittsburgh-based Westinghouse said it hopes to use bankruptcy to isolate and reorganize around its "very profitable" nuclear fuel and power plant servicing businesses from its money-losing construction operation.

Also at Ars Technica and Business Insider.

Toshiba's Westinghouse problems have caused the company to sell off other assets:
Toshiba in Trouble
Toshiba Shares Plunge Ahead of Nuclear Investment Writedown
Toshiba Considers NAND Business Split; Samsung Delays Release of 4 TB SSDs
Toshiba Nuked Half its Assets

Original Submission #1Original Submission #2

Toshiba Warns That its Survival is at Risk 35 comments

Toshiba has reported another huge loss as it continues to try to recover from the bankruptcy of its Westinghouse nuclear unit:

Toshiba has filed its delayed financial results, warning that the company's survival is at risk. "There are material events and conditions that raise substantial doubt about the company's ability to continue as a going concern," the company said in a statement.

The electronics-to-construction giant reported a loss of 532bn yen (£3.8bn; $4.8bn) for April to December. However, the results have not been approved by the firm's auditors. These latest financial results have already been delayed twice and raise the possibility that Toshiba could be delisted from the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

Previously: Toshiba Nuked Half its Assets
Huge Nuclear Cost Overruns Push Toshiba's Westinghouse Into Bankruptcy

Original Submission

Toshiba Sues Western Digital as it Seeks to Sell its Memory Business to a Third Party 1 comment

Toshiba wants to sell off its memory business, but not to Western Digital (just yet):

Toshiba was hoping to complete a deal with the winning bidder at a shareholder meeting yesterday. In the weeks leading up to that meeting, Toshiba had to issue several reminders of how desperate their financial state is: disclosing new legal actions against them by investors seeking damages pertaining to Toshiba's accounting scandals, announcing that the Tokyo and Nagoya stock exchanges are moving toward delisting Toshiba, and revising their outlook for fiscal year 2016 to reflect a negative shareholder equity of (¥581.6B). Meanwhile, Western Digital reiterated their objection to Toshiba selling the memory business to a third party and warned several third parties that they would view participation in the sale as tortious interference. Most recently, Western Digital also reportedly resubmitted its bid for Toshiba's memory business with an offer around ¥2 trillion, close to the amount offered by the consortium Toshiba had previously selected as the preferred bidder. Toshiba for their part has made no mention of Western Digital's offer.

In the aftermath of yesterday's shareholder meeting, Toshiba made several announcements. As expected, Toshiba was not able to finalize a sale of the Toshiba Memory Corporation subsidiary they have consolidated the memory-related assets under, but they are continuing to negotiate with the consortium. Toshiba announced plans for further investment in the joint venture's Fab 6 in Yokkaichi, Japan, and questioned whether SanDisk would jointly invest in the 3D NAND fab. Toshiba also announced that it has filed a lawsuit in the Tokyo District Court against Western Digital alleging unfair competition and seeking an injunction and damages. Toshiba claims that Western Digital is exaggerating their consent rights and also alleges that Western Digital has improperly obtained Toshiba trade secrets by transferring some employees from SanDisk to Western Digital whom have access to Toshiba confidential information through the joint ventures.

Western Digital Announces 96-Layer 3D NAND, Including Both TLC and QLC
Toshiba Considers NAND Business Split; Samsung Delays Release of 4 TB SSDs
Broadcom and Japanese Government Considering Bid for Toshiba's Semiconductor Unit
Samsung Could Boost NAND Production Capacity, WD Intervenes in Toshiba Memory Sale

Original Submission

Chaos as Toshiba Tries to Sell Memory Business 15 comments

Some news outlets reported that Western Digital was close to acquiring Toshiba's memory business, but that had not been finalized as of Tuesday:

Toshiba Corp now favors a group led by Bain Capital LP and SK Hynix Inc to buy its prized semiconductor business, as it failed to bridge key gaps with its business partner and rival bidder Western Digital Corp, two people briefed on the matter said on Tuesday.

The dramatic twist in the sale process, beset by legal wrangling and revised bids, comes just a day before Toshiba's latest deadline. The Japanese conglomerate, which needs to sell the chip business to plug a huge hole in its finances, had been trying to seal a deal by Wednesday with the Western Digital group but now hopes to reach agreement with the Bain group by next week, said the sources, who declined to be identified as the talks were private.

A Toshiba spokesman said the firm could not comment on details of the talks. The parties have already missed two deadlines by Toshiba's banks, which want a deal to pump $18 billion or more into the company to pull it out of negative shareholder equity and prevent it from being delisted. Yoshimitsu Kobayashi, an external Toshiba director, told reporters earlier on Tuesday that although the deadline is important, it is also important that negotiations head in a good direction.

Apple, a buyer of Toshiba's NAND chips, reportedly threatened Western Digital with a boycott of its products if it took complete control of Toshiba's memory business. But it did offer $460 million in acquisition financing for a group including WD as long as WD remained a minority investor.

Update: Toshiba says it favors a bid from a group led by Bain Capital, but is still open to better offers.

Toshiba to focus on chip talks with Bain, but doesn't rule out other suitors

Start the Bidding War, Toshiba

Previously: Broadcom and Japanese Government Considering Bid for Toshiba's Semiconductor Unit
Samsung Could Boost NAND Production Capacity, WD Intervenes in Toshiba Memory Sale
Toshiba Sues Western Digital as it Seeks to Sell its Memory Business to a Third Party

Original Submission

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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 19 2017, @10:36PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 19 2017, @10:36PM (#496592)

    It damn well is a security problem... so why not just pass a law to deal with the issue? ("Henceforth, Japan has ITAR restrictions like the USA.")

    Then there would be a bankruptcy, the court could restructure debt and terminate contracts, and Japanese investors could bid for whatever is left. With liabilities removed by bankruptcy court, somebody would bid.

  • (Score: 2) by kaszz on Thursday April 20 2017, @05:29AM (2 children)

    by kaszz (4211) on Thursday April 20 2017, @05:29AM (#496706) Journal

    Should we expect all Toshiba chip data sheets to go NDA you cannot have it (tm) ? Full NVidia/Marvel style?

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 20 2017, @07:42AM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 20 2017, @07:42AM (#496744)
      Probably not. Likely nothing is going to change from the point of view of those people working to interface with their gear. It will, however, prevent a Chinese or South Korean concern from acquiring ownership of any patents that Toshiba has, as well as their trade secrets, which is what this is really about.