Fabless Sony?

EETimes reports that Sony has taken a major step away from making its own chips. The company cut a deal that transfers its advanced fabrication lines to Toshiba; the ones where Sony makes the Cell microprocessors for the PlayStation 3.

The deal had been rumored for weeks. Sony and Toshiba said that they have formed two fab ventures. But in reality, Sony is transferring the plants to Toshiba, marking Sony's shift towards a fab-lite -- or perhaps a fabless -- strategy.

After the transfer takes place in March 2008, production on the line will be operated by the "joint venture." But that just means Toshiba will eat all the fab-related costs. Gizmodo speculated last month that PS3's lackluster sales were driving Sony to look for a way to free up money to spend on other, less dour areas of the business.

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