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Apple Hopes To Drop Samsung As Chip Supplier 107

Posted by Soulskill
from the why-do-mommy-and-daddy-fight dept.
danomac writes "Apple is testing out new chip suppliers, trying to find a supplier other than Samsung. Apple is currently suing Android phone manufacturers, and Samsung is included in the lawsuit. 'Apple faces several hurdles should it want to make a switch to TSMC, including patents and chip design issues as well as a push by Samsung to retain the business. ... Analysts and other sources had previously said TSMC, the world's largest contract chip maker, was set to become a supplier of a next-generation processor chip to Apple, likely starting next year. However the chip may not be called the A6, as some reports have indicated, the sources said. TSMC is an obvious candidate to win processor business from Apple as it has budgeted $7.8 billion this year to update technology and add capacity. It also has experience with the architecture of British chip designer ARM Holdings Plc, widely used by Apple to make power-efficient mobile chips."
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Apple Hopes To Drop Samsung As Chip Supplier

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  • Re:Surprising? (Score:5, Informative)

    by stevew (4845) on Friday July 15, 2011 @06:15PM (#36780792) Journal

    You have to understand that TSMC has a different business model than Samsung. TSMC is the largest Chip Fab in the world - bar none. It is ONLY a chip fab. The article is actually in error when it implies that the relationship between ARM and TSMC is a big deal. The relationship between Samsung and ARM is likely exactly the same! They BOTH have a license to ARMs IP. The BIG difference between the two is that TSMC doesn't have System Architecture experience. They take designs from others - and create masks, then fab them for you. Most of the "fabless" semiconductor companies in the world use either TSMC or UMC (the number 2 player..)

    Samsung is different in that they do both Architecture/Implementation of the design along with fabrication. TSMC doesn't really have that ability.

    What Apple would have to do is take on the Architecture/Implementation roll by themselves and send the design to TSMC for fabrication. That would put Apple more in the "fabless" semiconductor business. What they do now is they buy most of the design from Samsung, i.e. they use Samsung's IP on their chip, then Samsung implements the device, and fabs it. They ship the completed device to Apple.

    Hope this straightens out some of the differences between the two approaches.

  • Re:Surprising? (Score:4, Informative)

    by UnknowingFool (672806) on Friday July 15, 2011 @06:28PM (#36780910)

    What Apple would have to do is take on the Architecture/Implementation roll by themselves and send the design to TSMC for fabrication. That would put Apple more in the "fabless" semiconductor business. What they do now is they buy most of the design from Samsung, i.e. they use Samsung's IP on their chip, then Samsung implements the device, and fabs it. They ship the completed device to Apple.

    Except that Apple has been designing their own chips since the A4 and Samsung manufactures it. I'm sure that Samsung has assisted Apple like they would any other customer but considering that Apple bought PA Semi and Intrinsity (two chip design companies) for their personnel and expertise, I would say their A4 and A5 designs are not bought from Samsung.

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