Intel and Micron have confirmed that the next generation of 3D XPoint non-volatile memory, sold by Intel under the Optane brand, will be the last developed under the Intel-Micron Flash (IM Flash) joint venture umbrella - though the pair will continue to share a production facility.
Intel and Micron announced that they were to back away from the IM Flash joint venture, founded in 2006 to develop solid-state storage technologies the pair could implement in their own products, back in January - despite having finished a major fab expansion just two months prior. Details of the split, however, were far from clear, and the two companies have now released an additional statement to clarify matters.
3D XPoint development, the pair explain, will continue through to the first half of 2019 to finalise the second generation of the technology. After that, however, the two will be pursuing further generational improvements independently - meaning that Intel 3D XPoint and Micron 3D XPoint will diverge from the third generation onwards.
'Micron has a strong track record of innovation with 40 years of world-leading expertise in memory technology development, and we will continue driving the next generations of 3D XPoint technology,' claims Scott DeBoer, executive vice president of technology development at Micron. 'We are excited about the products that we are developing based on this advanced technology which will allow our customers to take advantage of unique memory and storage capabilities. By developing 3D XPoint technology independently, Micron can better optimise the technology for our product roadmap while maximising the benefits for our customers and shareholders.'
'Intel has developed a leadership position delivering a broad portfolio of Optane products across client and data centre markets with strong support from our customers,' adds Rob Crooke, senior vice president and general manager of the Non-Volatile Memory Solutions Group at Intel. 'Intel Optane's direct connection to the world’s most advanced computing platforms is achieving breakthrough results in IT and consumer applications. We intend to build on this momentum and extend our leadership with Optane, which combined with our high-density 3D NAND technology, offer the best solutions for today's computing and storage needs.'
Neither company has fully explained the reason for backing away from the joint venture, but both have committed to manufacturing their respective implementations of 3D XPoint at the Intel-Micron Flash facility in Utah.