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Intel offloads NAND business to South Korea's SK Hynix for a cool $9bn

Deal sees $7bn paid now, $2bn in 2025 when Intel hands over key IP and FAB workers


Intel has agreed to sell its NAND and SSD businesses to South Korean chipmaker SK Hynix for $9bn.

The deal will see SK Hynix become the world's second largest provider of flash memory, overtaking Japanese rival Kioxia (formerly Toshiba's memory biz) and closing in on Samsung's memory business. Samsung accounted for over a third of the world's NAND sales in the second quarter of the year.

SK Hynix said that the deal would include all of Intel's NAND business, including its SSD business, its NAND product and wafer business, and its chip fab in Dalian, China.

The deal will not include Intel's Optane storage-class-memory business.

SK Hynix said it will combine its own NAND technology with Intel's and plans "to establish a higher value-added 3D NAND solutions portfolio including enterprise SSDs."

Intel's NAND business generated around $2.8bn of revenue and $600m in operating income in the first half of 2020, but Intel has decided it needs to focus on processor technology, which has fallen behind rivals such as TSMC.

Chipzilla's take on the matter is here. SK Hynix's canned statement, meanwhile, stated: "Intel intends to invest transaction proceeds to deliver leadership products and advance its long-term growth priorities, including artificial intelligence, 5G networking and the intelligent, autonomous edge."

The sale is expected to receive government approval next year, though SK Hynix said it will be March 2025 before it is complete. The deal will therefore see an initial payment of $7bn, followed by $2bn in 2025 once Intel hands over: "IP related to the manufacture and design of NAND flash wafers, R&D employees, and the Dalian fab workforce." ®

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Another US president, time for another big Intel factory promise by another CEO

Let's not get too excited about this right away

Comment Intel puts on a show for its biggest manufacturing announcements, with episodes every few years using a rotating cast of CEOs and US presidents.

Intel boss Pat Gelsinger and President Joe Biden were the latest to join the series, on Friday jointly announcing the chip maker's investment of $20bn in plants near Columbus, Ohio. The fabs could be operational by 2025 and make chips down to 2nm and beyond.

"This is our first major site announcement in 40 years," Gelsinger said on on-stage later in the day with Ohio Governor Mike DeWine (R).

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European silicon output shrinking, metal smelters closing as electricity prices quadruple, trade body warns

Probably something to tackle before those chip fabs are built, eh?

Soaring electricity prices have derailed manufacturing involving silicon and non-ferrous metals in Europe, politicians were warned this week.

Eurometaux, a European metals association, urged action [PDF] from the EU, fearing the region could experience spikes in electricity prices for the next decade if nothing is done to control the situation.

The power crisis has already curtailed production and shut down facilities in silicon and metals industries across EU nations. "After a quadrupling of electricity prices, over half of the EU’s aluminium and zinc smelters are today operating at reduced capacity or have temporarily closed, together with a significant reduction in silicon output," Eurometaux said.

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Tougher rules on targeted ads, deepfakes, crafty web design, and more? Euro lawmakers give a thumbs up

'This is strongly limiting the scope of maneuver by Big Tech' expert tells El Reg

Analysis The European Parliament has adopted a set of amendments to the Digital Services Act (DSA) that makes the pending legislation even more protective of personal privacy and requires businesses to give greater consideration to advertising technology, respecting user choice, and web design.

The DSA, advanced by the European Commission in late 2020, aims to police online services and platforms by creating "a safer digital space where the fundamental rights of users are protected and to establish a level playing field for businesses." It's a set of rules for limiting illegal content and misinformation online and for making digital advertising more accountable and transparent.

It complements the Digital Markets Act (DMA), which focuses on regulating large technology "gatekeepers" like Amazon, Apple, Google, Meta (Facebook), and Microsoft.

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Meta trains data2vec neural network to understand speech, images, text so it can 'understand the world'

Whatever it takes, Mark

Researchers at Facebook parent's Meta have trained a single AI model capable of processing speech, images, and text in the hope that these so-called multi-modal systems will power the company’s augmented reality and metaverse products.

The model, known as data2vec, can perform different tasks. Given an audio snippet, it can recognize speech. If it’s fed an image, it can classify objects. And when faced with text, it can check the grammar or analyse the writing’s tone and emotions.

AI algorithms are typically trained on one type of data, though data2vec is trained on three different modalities. It still, however, processes each form, whether its speech, images, and text, separately.

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Apple preps fix for Safari's web-history-leaking IndexedDB privacy bug

Disclosure of WebKit flaw appears to have prodded iBiz to undertake repairs

Apple is preparing to repair a bug in its WebKit browser engine that has been leaking data from its Safari 15 browser at least since the problem was reported last November.

Updates made available on Thursday to Apple developers – iOS 15.3 RC and macOS 12.2 RC – reportedly fix the flaw, an improper implementation of IndexedDB API that allows websites to track users and potentially identify them.

The bug affects Apple's Safari 15 browser on macOS, and all browsers on iOS and iPadOS 15 – because Apple requires all browsers on iOS to be based upon its WebKit engine, instead of alternatives like Chromium's Blink or Mozilla's Gecko.

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Nvidia pushes crowd-pleasing container support into AI Enterprise suite

As long as you're running on VMware

Nvidia has rolled out the latest version of its AI Enterprise suite for GPU-accelerated workloads, adding integration for VMware's vSphere with Tanzu to enable organisations to run workloads in both containers and inside virtual machines.

Available now, Nvidia AI Enterprise 1.1 is an updated release of the suite that GPUzilla delivered last year in collaboration with VMware. It is essentially a collection of enterprise-grade AI tools and frameworks certified and supported by Nvidia to help organisations develop and operate a range of AI applications.

That's so long as those organisations are running VMware, of course, which a great many enterprises still use in order to manage virtual machines across their environment, but many also do not.

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Wolfing down ebooks during lockdown? You might want to check out Calibre, the Swiss Army ebook tool

When audiobooks just take too darn long...

Friday FOSS Fest In this week's edition of our column on free and open-source software, El Reg takes a look at Calibre, which converts almost any file type into almost any other file type, so you can read whatever you want, wherever you want, no matter what format it's in.

It's free and runs on Windows, Linux and Mac.

There's more to ebooks than the Kindle, of course, with devices such as the Kobo, Nook, and Onyx Boox. The author's own Sony Reader still worked fine when I gave it to a friend a year ago.

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Dog forgets all about risk of drowning in a marsh as soon as drone dangles a sausage

It's not the wurst idea in the world

Man's best friend, though far from the dumbest animal, isn't that smart either. And if there's one sure-fire way to get a dog moving, it's the promise of a snack.

In another fine example of drones being used as a force for good, this week a dog was rescued from mudflats in Hampshire on the south coast of England because it realised that chasing a sausage dangling from a UAV would be a preferable outcome to drowning as the tide rose.

Or rather the tantalising treat overrode any instinct the pet had to avoid the incoming water.

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Almost there: James Webb Space Telescope frees its mirrors and prepares for insertion

Freed of launch restraints, mirror segments can waggle at will

NASA scientists have deployed mirrors on the James Webb Space Telescope ahead of a critical thruster firing on Monday.

With less than 50,000km to go until the spacecraft reaches its L2 orbit, the segments that make up the primary mirror of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) are ready for alignment. The team carefully moved all 132 actuators lurking on the back of the primary mirror segments and secondary mirror, driving the former 12.5mm away from the telescope structure.

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Arm rages against the insecure chip machine with new Morello architecture

Prototypes now available for testing

Arm has made available for testing prototypes of its Morello architecture, aimed at bringing features into the design of CPUs that provide greater robustness and make them resistant to certain attack vectors. If it performs as expected, it will likely become a fundamental part of future processor designs.

The Morello programme involves Arm collaborating with the University of Cambridge and others in tech to develop a processor architecture that is intended to be fundamentally more secure. Morello prototype boards are now being released for testing by developers and security specialists, based on a prototype system-on-chip (SoC) that Arm has built.

Arm said that the limited-edition evaluation boards are based on the Morello prototype architecture embedded into an Armv8.2-A processor. This is an adaptation of the architecture in the Arm Neoverse N1 design aimed at data centre workloads.

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Multi-level marketing corporation that sells weightloss products sues ex-exec over 'fraudulent' Dell deal

Alleges he had an off-the-books agreement with reseller

MLM firm Herbalife, which sells diet-linked products but styles itself as a "nutrition company", has accused one of its former execs of cutting a "fraudulent" $20m deal with a Dell reseller.

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