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Tuesday, October 10, 2017
Western Digital Provides Its Aspect on Latest Developments Related to the Sandisk JV with Toshiba

Western Digital has posted a posted online a set of questions and answers to provide its aspects on key topics associated with the SanDisk joint ventures with Toshiba.

WD says that the F.A.Q. is intended to "correct inaccuracies and misconceptions."

"In light of what we believe to be a series of inaccurate statements and mischaracterizations regarding Western Digital, SanDisk, the NAND flash-memory JVs and SanDisk's clear consent rights, we felt compelled to set the record straight," WD said.

WD claims that the NAND flash memory produced through the Joint Ventures with Toshiba Memory Corp. (TMC) utilizes SanDisk's (a WD Subsidiary) patented technologies. It says that SanDisk has more than 4,000 U.S. flash-related patents, about twice the number of TMC's U.S. patents.

According to WD, Toshiba is prohibited from working with other companies to manufacture BiCS or other NAND flash memory being developed or manufactured in the SanDisk-Toshiba JVs.

WD says it has approximately 1,700 employees worldwide who are critical to joint venture technology development and operations actively collaborating with Toshiba's memory unit. WD claims these employees are involved in end-to-end NAND technology development and manufacturing including architecture, fab unit process development and integration, device development, memory design, product and test engineering, reliability engineering, etc.

SanDisk designs approximately half of all the NAND chips that are manufactured in the JVs, WD said, adding that SanDisk has been responsible for "design and system innovations" that have resulted in advancements such as Multi level cell (MLC), Three-level cell (TLC) and Quad level cell (QLC) technologies, among others.

WD says that Toshiba cannot manufacture NAND in Fab 6 without SanDisk's participation as the Japanese company announced in August 2017. Accordingly, SanDisk has filed an arbitration request seeking to protect its rights to invest jointly. WD believes that it is "very unlikely" that the JVs will not utilize Fab 6. The U.S. company confirmes it is currently in discussions with Toshiba about JV utilization of Fab 6.

Commenting on Toshiba's assertion that the Bain-SK Hynix consortium is just like the consortium Western Digital agreed to, except that it doesn't include Western Digital, WD says it is inaccurate.

"The Bain-SK Hynix consortium includes three of Western Digital's competitors, namely SK Hynix, Seagate and Kingston Technologies. It also includes Apple and Dell, which are key customers of Western Digital. The KKR-INCJ-DBJ consortium that Western Digital endorsed included neither competitors nor customers," WD says.

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