On July 29, Intel mentioned in its second-quarter earnings report, “We began to gradually close our Intel Optane memory business.” This heralded the end of the Optane memory business, which has been losing money.
Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger also confirmed on the earnings call that the Optane memory business will be shut down. By some counts, this is the sixth non-core business that CEO Pat Gelsinger has “sold”, including the recent sale of the drone business to Elon Musk’s brother and the sale of SK Hynix to SK Hynix Hynix’s solid-state drive storage is a $1.5 billion investment in Intel’s core business.
In a reply received by foreign media, Intel believes that closing Optane is a part of optimizing the product portfolio to support the IDM 2.0 strategy. They will also stop the development of future products but will continue to support Optane’s existing customers during the transition period.
After Intel closed Optane, it caused losses worth $559 million (about 3.7 billion yuan), which should include the impairment of Optane inventory and compensation for failure to perform.
It is worth noting that Intel seems to be forced to close its Optane memory business. After the dissolution of IMFT (IM Flash Technologies, Intel-Micron joint venture semiconductor company), Micron has the only production plant for 3D XPoint, and then Micron gave up its own 3D XPoint. XPoint plans to sell the factory to Texas Instruments in 2021, which makes Intel unable to produce the 3D Xpoint chips required by Optane, and Intel may stop further exploration of 3D XPoint technology in the future.
Easybom learned that Intel’s Optane sub-brand has many products, including Optane memory, Optane persistent memory, and Optane SSD, but the company previously classified all products into the “Optane memory business” scope, Therefore, it may be the entire Optane department that is gradually closed this time, not just Optane memory products.
Optane technology is a high-speed storage technology launched by Intel, which has been hailed by many as a “Moore’s Law disruptor” since its launch. It consists of 3D XPoint memory media, Intel memory and storage controllers, Intel interconnect IP and Intel software constitute together. Among them, 3D XPoint memory media is the cornerstone of Optane technology.