Samsung will never be real foundry contender. The reason that Samsung keeps foundry business is funding R&D cost of leading edge process for their internal customer. Samsung even doesn't have R&D capability in house, thus outsourcing at IBM camp. As long as they can sustain process development by having some big guys in customer list, they don't need to take care of other customers. Some Samsung foundry guys would refuse this thought, but so far this is true considering their investment plan and the way of handling customers. One more thing. Samsung foundry is part of Samsung semiconductor division within Samsung electronics. Samsung foundry never will be a separate entity.
Samsung is such a big manufacturer but its foundry biz is really small as compare to the Taiwanese. I don't think TI's movement will hurt the Samsung group as a whole. TI is smart in selecting different foundries for making its high performance digital product while still keep the analog fab which is relatively low cost.
Samsung has said, and repeated, that they want to be a (real) foundry biz contender so your warnings should be heeded. But I don't know if TI's observations are typical (that others are having a similar experience) or even if they are truly valid for TI itself - TI did just make a purchase offer for National and maybe the statements by TI point out why they did so... or maybe TI's statements are because of the purchase offer.
While it is true that Samsung does it's own products, it does so at cost or near. Samsungs foundry business is a seperate business unit of Samsung and has to support itself without choking the Parent Corporation. The only way it does that is by keeping its lines busy with outsourced customers.
As for Warrens comments the Foundy estimates are probably very close since Apple also puchases Flash Memory Components from a different division of Samsung. Samsung is a HUGE conglomerate of components and each is expected to show profit. TI moving away may not hurt Samsung while they are in good with Apple but as someone else mentioned Apple has turned on their suppliers on many different occassions for reasoning unknown outside Apple.
Agree that "one customer does not make a foundry business", but its difficult to compare Samsung to any other foundry for the simple fact that Samsung is supplier/customer all in one. Is there any data available on the internal "sales" volume Samsung foundry provides to Samsung electronics and how that compares to it's outside foundry customers?
seaEE..FYI. TI exited the leading-edge, digital process technology race some time ago. They decided to outsource to the foundries on the digital side. It's too expensive and costly. TI still has fabs in analog.
Thanks for the comment Warren. Here's the harsh reality for Samsung: One customer (Apple) does not make a foundry business. A foundry vendor must juggle multiple customers and try to do it well. Another warning for Samsung: Apple is fickle bunch. They can embrace a supplier and dump them too. Ask PortalPlayer.