Rambus Inc. has taken the move to start selling semiconductor chips under its own brand as part of its newly devoted and concentrated effort at reducing the company’s dependence on income from litigation to defend its patents. Rambus is currently working on shipping samples of the chips to potential customers in order to gauge the market.
Since when Rambus opened in 1990, the DRAM technology company has always focused on creation and licensing of technology as opposed to selling the finished chips. Because of this, Rambus is one of the leading frontrunners in holding a number of major DRAM patents. However, this also resulted in many infamous legal fights with DRAM manufacturers over DDR technology. As of late, Rambus has been quiet and slowly falling behind. The company has seen little success licensing further DRAM designs.
This prompted Rambus to explore other avenues to increase revenue. Rambus will be making the transition from an IP licensing business to a true fabless semiconductor firm, designing and selling their own products. Rambus for their part sees a place for themselves in the current DIMM market for supplying the register and buffer chips used for DDR4 RDIMM/LRDIMMs, as DDR4 imposes further limitations in order to reach its greater speeds.
Although Rambus is producing their own DIMM chipsets, they will not be producing their own DIMMs or DRAM. Rather, the company will be offering their chipsets for sale to the DIMM vendors – Hynix, Micron, Samsung, etc. – for those companies to use in building their respective RDIMMs and LPDIMMs.
“Rambus, which started its business 25 years ago as a developer of RDRAM (Rambus DRAM) technology, is returning to its roots in memory technology innovation,”Junko Yoshida, Chief International Correspondent at UBM Electronics explained.
“Seizing the opportunity in a growing market of enterprise servers and datacenters that is screaming for dramatic performance improvements both in bandwidth and capacity, Rambus is rolling out a server memory interface chipset. It’s the first time for Rambus to enter a fabless chip business. With this new chipset, Rambus isn’t [just] pursuing IP licensing it’s known for.”
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