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February 23, 2001



IMEC and Sony Sign Research Collaboration Programs on Fundamental Technologies for Next-Generation Semiconductor Systems and Devices

-Collaboration for Wireless LAN and Bipolar CMOS Process Technology -

IMEC
Sony Corporation


(February 23, 2001, Tokyo) IMEC and Sony Corporation today announced that the two companies have signed a research collaboration program in the areas of wireless local area network (WLAN) and bipolar CMOS process technology.

The growing market pressure for high-performance semiconductors compels the industry to introduce new technologies at an unprecedented speed. This, together with intensifying technological challenges, can generate enormous investments in R&D, which necessitates global collaboration efforts between companies, independent laboratories and academia. In light of this, IMEC launched Industrial Affiliation Programs (IIAP) in which companies from all over the world participate to jointly develop next-generation semiconductor technologies on the basis of cost sharing and risk reduction.

In the area of broadband WLAN, Sony will participate in the IIAP to attain IMEC's advanced system know-how and designing/modeling methodologies for 5GHz WLAN solutions. Results of the collaboration will be transferred to Sony to facilitate the development of its proprietary WLAN device solution for future wireless consumer electronic products. Sony's engineers will participate in the IIAP as resident researchers for a period of two years.

In addition to the IIAP, the two companies agreed to enter into a technology transfer program, in which modules of IMEC's Bipolar CMOS process technology will be transferred to Sony. Bipolar CMOS technology will foster the development of high-speed analog ICs that will become necessary to process high frequency signals for next-generation consumer electronic products in the broadband network era.

"IMEC has set up a scheme of worldwide interactions with many leading companies, mainly in the USA and Europe so far. We are very happy to be able to sign these two important contracts with Sony today. This is strengthening a relationship that started more than 10 years ago. We are looking forward to a very successful cooperation," said Dr. Gilbert Declerck, CEO of IMEC. "It is an important step for IMEC to expand its network of affiliate companies into Japan".

"In order to quickly develop semiconductors that determine the key features of digital electronic products, it has become necessary to conduct technology collaboration programs that span the semiconductor industry and the research institutes," said Tsugio Makimoto, Corporate Research Fellow and Corporate Senior Executive Vice President of Sony Corporation. "Sony has worked with IMEC for a number of years now, and has gained valuable experience in the development of the latest semiconductor technologies. We are delighted to once again participate in the IIAP as well as to begin a technology transfer program to further strengthen our ties into the future."



About IMEC:
IMEC was founded in 1984 and today is Europe's leading independent research center for the development and licensing of microelectronics, and information and communication technologies (ICT). IMEC is headquartered in Leuven, Belgium, and has a staff of more than 1000 people including over 200 industrial residents. Its more than 100 million EURO revenue is derived from agreements and contracts with Flemish government, the EC, MEDEA, the European Space Agency, equipment and material suppliers and semiconductor companies worldwide. IMEC's activities concentrate on design of integrated information and communication systems; silicon process technology; silicon technology and device integration; microsystems, components and packaging; advanced training in microelectronics. IMEC has a sub-0.25um 200mm pilot line and is ISO9001 certified. News from IMEC is located at www.imec.be.
About Sony Corporation:
Sony is a leading manufacturer of audio, video, game, communications and information technology products for the consumer and professional markets. With its music, pictures, computer entertainment and on-line businesses, Sony is uniquely positioned to be a leading broadband entertainment company. Sony recorded consolidated annual sales of more than $63 billion for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2000. Visit Sony on the Web at http://www.sony.net/