Infineon will provide memory chips and a wireless controller for Microsoft's Xbox 360 console, the two companies both said yesterday, but it's the "advanced security chip" it will also produce that will cause more controversy.
Infineon said the security chip was "a custom implementation of Infineon’s proven authentication technology".
That comment is likely to refer to its Trusted Platform Module (TPM) - the chip which, incidentally, was located within Apple's developer-oriented Intel-based Power Macs and suggested as the foundation for Apple's scheme to stop PC owners installing Mac OS X on non-Apple hardware.
Microsoft may be looking to Infineon's TPM technology to provide comparable protection for the 360. Infineon's TPM 1.2 chip supports the Trusted Computing Group's trusted platform 1.2 specification, but it also delivers a variety of security features, including ACE with RSA support for 2048-bit keys, hardware acceleration for SHA-1 hashing, true random number generation - useful, we'd suggest, for gameplay as much as it is for security - and support for Intel's upcoming LaGrande Technology, though that's less useful for the PowerPC-based 360.
How many of these features make it to the custom 360 TPM chip remains to be seen - certainly neither Infineon nor Microsoft provided any guidance on functionality. Nor would they say anything about the financial side of the agreement.
The Xbox 360 is set to ship in the US in October for $300-400, followed by a European launch in November priced at £210-280/€300-400. ®