Spansion Japan Files For Bankruptcy Protection

You may have never heard of Spansion, but we'd be willing to wager that you've heard of Fujitsu and Advanced Micro Devices. As it turns out, Spansion was jointly set up by AMD and Fujitsu, who own 8.7 percent and 11.4 percent of the company, respectively. Also of note, Spansion is the world's largest maker of NOR-type flash memory with a market share of about 40 percent. Oh, and today its Japanese subsidiary is filing for bankruptcy protection.

Just weeks after DRAM maker Qimonda waved the white flag, yet another low-key -- but remarkably influential -- tech company has caved to the pressures of today's economy. The US-based outfit has stated that the Japanese unit's filing does not "materially" affect its global operations, but only time will tell what impact this will actually have. Spansion's President and CEO John Kispert proclaimed: "We intend for Spansion Japan to continue to operate throughout the restructuring period," noting that the unit had enough cash on hand to "meet its short-term working capital needs."

For those still wondering what exactly NOR is, it's a memory technology that rivals the more pervasive NAND-type flash memory found in so many SSDs today. Generally speaking, NOR is utilized in older cellphones and is still quite popular in lower-end handsets that don't require large storage capacity. This collapse is the largest failure of a manufacturer in Japan this year, though Fujitsu seemed confident that the failure wouldn't have any impact on its own chip sales. As for actual dollars involved, it reported liabilities of ¥74.1 (around $809 million), and with the NOR market shrinking, chances of recovery were growing ever bleaker. Spansion Japan employs 1,350 workers, which amounts to around 14 percent of Spansion Inc's group workforce, though there's been no public word on how the filing will affect jobs.