Intel's alimony payments might be getting expensive. Storage news and analysis site Blocks & Files (opens in new tab) today reported that Intel will have to pay more for Optane memory chips because a new supply deal with Micron, its former business partner, went into effect on March 7.
Intel and Micron worked together on 3D XPoint via the IM Flash Technologies joint venture. The partnership started to falter (opens in new tab) in late 2018, however, and Micron said in 2019 that it would pay Intel roughly $1.3 billion for its stake in IM Flash Technologies (opens in new tab).
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It wasn't a clean break, however, because the Intel Optane (opens in new tab) lineup was built upon 3D XPoint. That means Intel has to buy 3D XPoint memory chips for use in its Optane products, and now it seems the price of those memory chips just got higher.
Blocks & Files quoted Wells Fargo analyst Aaron Rakers, who said that "we would assume that the new wafer supply agreement reflects net-positive pricing and forecast terms for Micron." (Or in English: Micron's gotta make money off this deal.)
The second generation of 3D XPoint was expected to arrive this year. Intel's annual report made it seem like that wouldn't be the case though and suggested the first products based on the technology would arrive sometime in 2021 (opens in new tab) instead.
We've reached out to Intel for comment and will update if the company responds.