A group of chip makers led by IBM has agreed to jointly develop 32nm (nanometre) semiconductor production technology, a sign that the alliance will continue to move forward.

Research alliances in the chip industry suffered a blow earlier this year when NXP Semiconductors, one of Europe's largest chip makers, decided to drop out of a group that it had been part of since 2000 known as the Crolles Alliance. The announcement left other alliance members, including Freescale Semiconductor and STMicroelectronics, in a bind. Their partnership will dissolve after completing its work on 45nm production technology. NXP plans to work more closely with its contract manufacturing partner, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing.

Freescale quickly moved in with the IBM group, a vote of confidence for its collaboration, which also includes Chartered Semiconductor Manufacturing, Infineon Technologies and Samsung.

Such chip alliances were originally formed because companies were concerned about the rising cost of chip development.