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TDK, Calimetrics, MCC & Plextor to apply MultiLevel Recording Technology


TDK, Calimetrics, Mitsubishi Chemical Corp. and Shinano Kenshi Co. Will Work Together to Bring to Market Next Year High-Speed/High-Capacity Storage Solutions Built On Familiar, Inexpensive CD-R/RW Platform

TDK Electronics Corporation announced today the creation of a technology alliance with Calimetrics Inc., to apply Calimetrics' MultiLevel Recording(TM) (ML) technology to create a new recordable and rewritable optical disc format with three times the capacity and three times the speed of conventional CD-R/RW recording. The first products to incorporate the new MultiLevel Recording technology will be a new generation of computer drives built on the familiar CD-R/RW platform but with the ability to record more than 2 GB of data at 36X on specially formulated ML blank discs, as well as 700 MB of data on standard CD-R/RW discs at 12X.

Commenting on today's announcement, TDK Electronics President Kuni Matsui noted: ``The dramatic gains in capacity and speed offered by the new ML format make it the ideal bridge to the future. Because the technology is IC-based, we expect ML drives to be priced at a small premium over today's CD-R/RW drives. Hardware manufacturers can add ML capability to their CD-R/RW drives without altering existing optics, mechanics or manufacturing infrastructure. From a media perspective as well, ML discs maintain the cost-per-megabyte efficiencies of conventional CD-R and CD-RW discs. Equally important, ML drives retain backward compatibility with conventional CD-R/RW recording, enabling users to retain CD's universal compatibility when so desired.''

TDK, a world leader in CD-R/RW drive and media design and manufacture, intends to introduce ML drives next year and has created a highly reliable blank recordable disc for MultiLevel recording. The new write-once disc will offer the highest transfer rate at the lowest cost/MB of any random-access removable storage media.

In addition to TDK, supporters of the new ML format include Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation, a leading maker of CD-RW disc media, sold under the Verbatim and Mitsubishi brands, and Shinano Kenshi Co. Ltd., a leading manufacturer of high-performance CD-R/RW drives marketed worldwide under the Plextor brand. At the upcoming Comdex Show in Las Vegas, TDK and Calimetrics will be demonstrating the ML recording system for interested drive and media manufacturers, IC manufacturers, OEM suppliers and software developers.

``The capacity and speed increases offered by MultiLevel Recording give Plextor and our OEM customers an important competitive edge in the growing market for CD-RW drives,'' said Isao Shoji, president of Plextor America.

``MultiLevel Recording is a major advance in optical data storage technology, which we believe will have a dramatic impact on the removable storage market,'' said Dr. Yoshimitsu Kobayashi, general manager of Information Storage Products Department at Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation. Mitsubishi Chemical has developed phase-change recording media optimized for MultiLevel Recording and plans to offer rewritable ML discs to support the format's launch next year.

``We are pleased to be working with TDK as our partner in the commercialization of the ML format,'' said Kenneth Campbell, president & CEO of Calimetrics. ``Our two companies have been working together for more than a year on the project, and TDK's expertise in optical recording technology and their willingness to support the technology with a substantial equity investment in Calimetrics have significantly accelerated the development of the ML format.''

ML and DVD

ML is not envisioned as a replacement for recordable DVD drives. According to TDK's Kuni Matsui, ``The ML format is a bridge to the era of inexpensive recordable DVD. For the next several years, however, we see a tremendous demand in the market for a format that extends and enhances CD's storage, speed and value. MultiLevel Recording technology can eventually migrate to the DVD platform, where it will offer similar gains in recording capacity and write speed.''

About TDK

TDK Corporation (NYSE:TDK - news) is a leading global electronics company based in Japan. It was established in 1935 to commercialize ``ferrite,'' a key material in electronics and magnetics. TDK's current product line includes ferrite materials, electronic components and ICs, wireless computer networking products, magnetic heads for HDD, digital recording hardware and advanced digital recording media. Net sales in FY2000 were US$6.3 billion. TDK Electronics Corporation is a U.S. subsidiary of TDK U.S.A. Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of TDK Corporation. For more information about TDK, please visit

About Calimetrics

Calimetrics Inc. is a semiconductor and data storage technology company headquartered in Alameda, Calif. Incorporated in 1994, the venture-backed firm has developed and holds an extensive portfolio of intellectual property in the optical data storage field, and is the exclusive licensee of patents granted to the University of California, Berkeley, related to optical data storage. Calimetrics-designed integrated circuits, cores and disc media enable low-cost production of optical data storage systems with significantly greater capacity and faster data transfer rate than currently available systems. Calimetrics has received investment from venture capital and corporate investors, as well as significant support from the Advanced Technology Program of NIST, part of the U.S. Department of Commerce. For further information on Calimetrics, please see:

About Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation

Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation (MCC) is Japan's largest chemical company and one of the world's leading manufacturers of information storage products. In a line-up of data and image storage media, MCC holds a strong market share in markets such as DVD-R disks, CD-R and CD-RW disks, 90 mm and 130 mm MO disks, 130 mm WORM disks, hard disk media, as well as tape cartridges and floppy disks. Many of these products are marketed through Verbatim Corporation, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of MCC. Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation has approximately 10,000 employees, and on a consolidated basis recorded revenues of approximately $13 billion for the year ended March 31, 1999. Interested parties can contact the company by calling 81-3-3283-6631or by faxing to 81-3-3283-6966.

About Plextor

Plextor Corp. is a leading developer and manufacturer of high-performance CD-related equipment for professional use in business and networked environments. Since opening its headquarters in Silicon Valley in 1990, Plextor has introduced twelve generations of CD-ROM drives, two CD-Recordable drives, five CD-ReWritable drives and a complete line of networking products. Plextor's product line is supported by customized software applications such as CD Res-Q and Plextor Manager 2000. The company is privately owned by its parent corporation, Shinano Kenshi of Japan, a developer and manufacturer of advanced technology hardware and precision electronic equipment. Shinano Kenshi is best known for its expertise in motor manufacturing.

This release contains forward-looking statements. These statements are subject to certain risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those anticipated in the forward-looking statements. Readers should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements, which reflect management's view only as of the date hereof. The Company undertakes no obligation to publicly revise these forward-looking statements to reflect subsequent events or circumstances. Readers should carefully review the risk factors described in the documents the Company files from time to time with the Securities and Exchange Commission.


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