Intel broadened its relationship with Apple and announced a joint venture with Micron Technology to manufacture "Nand" flash memory chips for the iPod.
"Nand" is faster than "Nor" flash, used in many mobile phones, for handling music and images. Intel's "Nand" JV will provide a direct challenge to Samsung, the leading manufacturer of "Nand" flash memory.
In further evidence of Apple's strategic shift to "Nand" technology for their iPods going forwards they have pre-paid $1.25bn to secure flash memory until 2010. This move has enabled Apple to entice other key chip manufacturers to start developing "Nand" chips while also providing them with a competitive weapon against other digital music device makers who may struggle to secure chips at such competitive prices.
Apple will now be able to tap Intel/Micron, plus Hynix and Toshiba as well as Samsung. This makes Apple less dependant on one supplier (Samsung) for such a critical component. Solid move Apple.
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