Flash bang walloped: Toshiba, Western Digital sign peace treaty over memory chip fabs

Dare we say it... Tosh won


A peace has broken out between Western Digital and Toshiba over the future of their solid-state-memory factory joint-ventures.

As expected, the two flash bangers have agreed to end their legal war. The pair said they have reached "a global settlement agreement to resolve their ongoing disputes in litigation and arbitration, strengthen and extend their relationship, and enhance the mutual commitment to their ongoing flash memory collaboration."

Toshiba Memory Corporation (TMC) – Tosh's stake in the joint-ventures – will be sold off to a consortium led by Bain Capital, raising much-needed funds for cash-strapped Toshiba. Western Digital wasn't mad keen on that sale because its rival SK Hynix is part of that consortium; Western Digital was unhappy about part of its flash storage factory slipping partly into the hands of a competitor.

Western Digital tried to block the sale, the row between WDC and Toshiba spilled into the courts, and now the two sides have agreed to end the conflict thus:

  • TMC and Western Digital will jointly pump wonga into Fab 6, the flash chip factory being built at Yokkaichi, Japan, including the investment announced by Toshiba in October 2017. Western Digital will also participate in a new flash wafer fabrication facility that will be constructed in Iwate, Japan.
  • WDC and Tosh will extend the terms of their joint-ventures: Flash Alliance will be extended to December 31, 2029, and Flash Forward to December 31, 2027. Flash Partners was previously extended to December 31, 2029.
  • Tosh and WDC are agreed on the sale of Toshiba's subsidiary TMC to the Bain-led consortium.
  • The two have agreed on mutual protections for their assets and confidential information in connection with the sale of TMC, and on collaborating to ensure the future success of TMC as a public company following an eventual IPO.

The last point confirms WDC's concerns have been addressed regarding the influence its competitors Seagate and SK Hynix – both in the Bain consortium – will have on the joint-ventures, although nothing was spelled out.

Bigwigs from Toshiba, Western Digital, and Bain said how pleased they were that Tosh and WDC have hugged and become friends again. Yeah, yeah.

WDC was made to look foolish by setting out on the litigation route in an attempt to control the sale of Tosh's joint-venture interests, and failing to prevent the sale. It is basically back where it was before the sell-off was announced, when it had every expectation of participating in future flash fab investments.

Fundamentally WDC needs Tosh more than Tosh needs WDC, and WDC realized this. Once Tosh raised more capital, WDC caved. ®


Other stories you might like

  • Apple strays from the path of locking down parts with its Series 7 Watch

    Component swaps still a thing... for now

    Apple's seventh-gen Watch has managed to maintain its iFixit repairability rating on a par with the last model – unlike its smartphone sibling.

    The iFixit team found the slightly larger display of the latest Apple Watch a boon for removal via heat and a suction handle. Where the previous generation required a pair of flex folds in its display, the new version turned out to be simpler, with just the one flex.

    Things are also slightly different within the watch itself. Apple's diagnostic port has gone and the battery is larger. That equates to a slight increase in power (1.094Wh from 1.024Wh between 40mm S6 and 41mm S7) which, when paired with the slightly hungrier display, means battery life is pretty much unchanged.

    Continue reading
  • Better late than never: Microsoft rolls out a public preview of E2EE in Teams calls

    Only for one-to-one voice and video, mind

    Microsoft has finally kicked off the rollout of end-to-end-encryption (E2EE) in its Teams collaboration platform with a public preview of E2EE for one-to-one calls.

    It has been a while coming. The company made the promise of E2EE for some one-to-one Teams calls at its virtual Ignite shindig in March this year (https://www.theregister.com/2021/03/03/microsoft_ups_security/) and as 2021 nears its end appears to have delivered, in preview form at least.

    The company's rival in the conference calling space, Zoom, added E2EE for all a year ago, making Microsoft rather late to the privacy party. COO at Matrix-based communications and collaboration app Element, Amandine Le Pape, told The Register that the preview, although welcome, was "long overdue."

    Continue reading
  • Recycled Cobalt Strike key pairs show many crooks are using same cloned installation

    Researcher spots RSA tell-tale lurking in plain sight on VirusTotal

    Around 1,500 Cobalt Strike beacons uploaded to VirusTotal were reusing the same RSA keys from a cracked version of the software, according to a security researcher who pored through the malware repository.

    The discovery could make blue teams' lives easier by giving them a clue about whether or not Cobalt Strike traffic across their networks is a real threat or an action by an authorised red team carrying out a penetration test.

    Didier Stevens, the researcher with Belgian infosec firm NVISO who discovered that private Cobalt Strike keys are being widely reused by criminals, told The Register: "While fingerprinting Cobalt Strike servers on the internet, we noticed that some public keys appeared often. The fact that there is a reuse of public keys means that there is a reuse of private keys too: a public key and a private key are linked to each other."

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021