Blog Post

Freescale to Spin Out MRAM Business

Today Freescale said it would spin out its MRAM business to a consortium of venture investors under the name EverSpin Technologies. Such a move makes sense for Freescale, which doesn’t have the resources to focus on developing a competitor to Flash memory, but is also somewhat of a shame; MRAM has the potential to be a large moneymaker if it can scale.

MRAM is one of many fledgling attempts to create better non-volatile memory that can retain information even after the power is turned off. Like Flash, MRAM could find a home in portable computing devices such as laptops or MP3 players. Compared to Flash, MRAM is faster and requires less power (hello, longer battery life). Freescale made news in 2006 when it introduced a 4 Mb MRAM chip. That doesn’t hold much, but it was the result of a decade of research into the technology.

The creation of EverSpin follows similar memory spinouts, such as Numonyx, set up by Intel and STMicrosystems to research PRAM, and the less research-oriented Infineon from Qimonda. AMD and Fujitsu spun out their Flash memory operations as Spansion. Memory is a commodity business that requires large economies of scale to become profitable. Freescale does need to focus on a few core businesses, but I hope its stake in EverSpin gives it plenty of upside if MRAM becomes a market success story.

3 Responses to “Freescale to Spin Out MRAM Business”

  1. Stacey Higginbotham

    Gary, you’re right, in some devices MRAM will replace Flash, but the key is that the evolution of more memory technologies give engineers more options to design with so they can find the best fit for their needs. It’s kind of like Benjamin Moore give us multiple paint mixtures that could best match my high-gloss or matte needs.

  2. I’m not sure MRAM has to be seen as a competitor to flash. Yes, some will perceive that, and you may find each side jockeying for segments of the same market. But the proliferation of new memory technologies indicates to me that we have to make use of the best-of-breed across speed, cost per bit, and overall endurance. It is unlikely to be ‘one type fits all’ for a while.