Credit: Charles Knowles/ShutterstockThe split between Micron and Intel will soon be official. In a regulatory filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) submitted on May 3, the storage company said that it expects to close the sale of Intel's noncontrolling interest in the IM Flash Technologies joint venture on October 31.
IM Flash Technologies was founded in 2006 to allow the companies to collaborate on the development of NAND flash and 3D XPoint, a non-volatile memory tech that would eventually be used in Intel Optane. The companies announced in July 2018 that they would stop working together on 3D XPoint after work on its 2nd generation finished in the first half of this year. Products featuring 3D XPoint technology will continue to be sold, but Intel and Micron will develop them separately rather than via IM Flash Technologies.
Micron then said in October 2018 that it would buy out Intel's share of IM Flash Technologies. But it wasn't a clean split--Intel said Micron would have to wait until at least January 1, 2019 to purchase its stake in the venture. That seems to have resulted in little more than a waiting game, however, because Micron announced on January 15 that it was still going to move forward with its plan to buy Intel's 49% stake in IM Flash Technologies.
Now we have more information about the deal. Intel apparently told Micron on May 3 when the deal would close, according to the regulatory filing, leading to the October 31 target date. Micron also said in the filing that it "expects to pay Intel approximately $1.3 billion to $1.5 billion in cash for Intel’s noncontrolling interest in IMFT and IMFT member debt owed to Intel and recognize a GAAP financial gain of approximately $100 million."
If that deal goes according to plan, Micron and Intel will become even closer to being free of each other. But there are still a few loose ends, including Intel's claim that a former engineering manager hired by Micron could share information about 3D XPoint with his new employer, that will have to be tied up. Only then can we start to understand what this really means for the development of 3D XPoint and Intel Optane products going forward.