“Apple Inc. has snapped up a former chip fab in North San Jose,” Nathan Donato-Weinstein reports for Silicon Valley Business Journal. “Apple last week paid $18.2 million for the 70,000 square foot building at 3725 N. First St., public records show. The purchase is notable for the real estate’s former use: It was a manufacturing facility for semiconductor company Maxim Integrated Products, which was also the seller.”

“It’s unclear what Apple will use the facility for, but marketing material from the listing agent, ATREG, says: ‘Well suited for prototype, pilot, and low-volume manufacturing, this facility is capable of producing a wide array of products at multiple technology nodes ranging from 600nm to 90nm, with the bulk of production from 350nm to 180nm,'” Donato-Weinstein reports. “The facility also ‘offers a complete tool line consisting of 197 well-maintained front-end tools from such OEMs as AMAT, Hitachi, Novellus, LAM, TEL, KLA, and ASML,’ the marketing material states.”

“Experts said on Monday that the pickup probably does not signal a big push into production chip manufacturing for Apple, but does suggest the company needs more ‘heavy R&D’ space as it continues to expand into new products and markets,” Donato-Weinstein reports. “‘It’s pretty small for a fab,’ said Dean Freeman, research VP at Gartner, where he leads the Internet of Things Center of Excellence. ‘The only thing I can think that they would be doing is potentially be saying, ‘OK, we need to do some prototyping in some way or form.’ Or they want a clean-room space to do some tweaky development. This isn’t big enough to do anything (production-wise).'”

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MacDailyNews Take: Wonder if their new next-door neighbor Samsung will throw Apple a housewarming party (in order to plant some bugs)?