SAN JOSE, Calif. - Is Apple Inc. switching foundry partners?
Apple is mulling a plan to outsource the production of its A4 processor and other ARM-based chips to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd. (TSMC), according to Digitimes. That article can beread here.
At present, Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. is Apple's foundry partner. There are also reportsthat Apple is sourcing $7.8 billion in parts from Samsung.
But on the other hand, Apple and Samsung are rivals in handsets, tablet PCs and computers. Some think Apple should build its own fab.
I don't agree Apple to have its own fab. Apple only need to focus on product design and probably some chip designs if they are valued to the company. There are plenty of large fab for Apple to choose from so I don't see any good reason for Apple to build its own fab.
Since Samsung is competing with Apple with their own Hummingbird/Orion/Exynos CPU, this is a logical decision. Apple wouldnt want samsung to know what is its next step. BTW samsung hummingbird was originally based on Intrinsity ARM core, which Apple acquired. Since then Apple/samsung would have diverged their paths in CPU development.
I concur with the above comments. Apple need to concentrate on their own competitive advantage (design) and leave the fabrication to others. Parting ways with Samsung is logical as the two are increasingly competing in the mobile arena.
I will agree Apple should focus on its innovation, not those commodity SoC or flash. If they could come up unique requirements, I believe every major SoC vendors will do everything for them to gain their business. And Apple could cherry pick the best. Why bothering even to design its own SoC? I think it is silly decision for Apple to start with.
I’m having difficulty with this entire thread. The sky is not falling and “Apple jumping ship and moving to TSMC,” is insane.
When the volume of business is in the billions of dollars and the capital needed to supply the parts is in the billions of dollars, nothing moves without protection of IP and investment needed to deliver. It’s just that simple. At the same time we do live in a competitive world and single sourcing is extremely dangerous. To that end I say Apple must explore alternatives to Samsung. Samsung was has been and will continue to be in the phone and computer business for over a decade. Apple knew this going in as did Samsung. Hurray for TSMC, for making the pitch and generating press that it is expanding and hinting it’s on the hunt for Apple business.
Competition is what this business is all about. Anyone that thinks Apple can leave Samsung high and dry also believes in the tooth fairy. At the same time a dual supplier strategy is a must for everyone.
As for Apple buying and operating a fab, that’s outrageous. One would only have to look at what they have done with most of the other manufacturing, it’s outsourced. Sure they do invest in some of their suppliers. Its common practice when you want it special and guaranteed access to capacity.
“Jump Ship,” now way…..
Perhaps Apple is different. They already have substantial vertical integration, from architecture, apps to chip design. Probably fab is next in line. Perhaps Steve Jobs sees threat emanating from Samsung which draws its strength from vertical integration.
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