How is this piece of news, albeit interesting, related to a platform war with Apple? I really do not get how you are connecting dots here. Apple designs no semiconductors of their own (I'll concede the AX apps processor under duress since it is really an ARM fabricated by Samsung), has no fab and NO modem (2G, 3G, 4G, BT, WiFi, or GPS) design experience. Please explain how Apple can be considered the competition in this space? System design and software for sure, but hello, that is not news, they have been suing each other for years now on that.
Think strategically 10 years from now when Apple and Samsung could be designing 100% of the SoCs inside of their consumer devices. Apple did a custom design of the recent A6X processor using a license from ARM, not a reference design from ARM, big difference.
Samsung is a leading smartphone vendor that designs and manufactures the chips inside -- albeit to an Android platform.
Apple is a leading smartphones vendor that designs significant chips inside (but does not manufacture them) but defines the iOS-basded platform.
ABI Research is joining the dots and reckoning that Apple and Samsung will try to take more control of their respective platforms (think modems, graphics, radios) as they go head-to-had in smartphone/superphone/table computers.
Seems like a smart and logical move. After all, if you want something done right, do it yourself. Apple has certainly taught Samsung that having control over every possible part of its hardware supply chain is the way to go....
I don't think you appreciate the complexity and cost of running a modem business. Then multiply that by 6 modems and counting. Apple in not in the ballpark and is not showing any signs of taking up the game.
I think if it is the natural move for these two giants to design their own chip. Whether they have any fab to manufacture does't really matter. The key is to own the IP of core technology while having its own chip is surely the key to win the game. Of course, both investment and risk are large. Apple, on the other hand, also can play with software like OS but it is also burning a lot of money so they must do the thing right all the time.
I think Samsung has always been more in control of its supply chain than Apple, as Samsung manufactures a significant portion (not just chips) of its smartphone components in-house. Apple has been great at managing an controlling an external supply chain, but that cannot beat in-house sourcing.
@tpfj, I agree with you. The technical complexities and the investment required to build modem communication skills for HW and for software is far beyond Apple. Considering also the multiple standards we are talking about.
Intel did not start from scratch. They bought in. Maybe Apple could do that too, but it needs to find someone willing to sell at a distress price. Otherwise, the premium required to buy those businesses might not justify the savings from owning the design process.
We are really talking about multi-hundreds of millions of dollards to build such design centers for WCDMA or LTE (HW and SW).
Samsung, on the other hand, is a multi-faceted company, including a well experienced semiconductor manufacturer. Hence, they leverage their expertise. Apple will need to dig deep into their pockets to buy someone.
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