“Apple is exploring a possible deal with chipmaker Globalfoundries to produce future chips, according to a report,” Brooke Crothers reports for CNET. “A semiconductor industry source told CNET that Apple and Milpitas, Calif.-based Globalfoundries are ‘kicking the tires.’ But ‘by no means’ is any firm deal imminent at this point, the source added.”
“The original speculation about the deal appeared at chip site SemiAccurate on Friday. The report said Apple has ‘bought into’ a fab at Globalfoundries — a fab is a chip plant, in semiconductor industry parlance,” Crothers reports. “If Apple owned capacity at a fab, it would give the company the kind of control over both design and chip manufacturing that Intel has, the report said.”
“Currently, Apple processors such as the A6 are made by Samsung at a facility in Austin, Texas, as well as other locations. But Apple doesn’t “own” manufacturing capacity per se,” Crothers reports. “If the Globalfoundries deal reached fruition, it could be a backup plan of sorts, the source said… Globalfoundries has a relatively new fab in upstate New York that has “a lot of idle capacity and a lot of new [production] tools,” said the source. It’s capable of making ARM chips (the same chip design Apple uses) based on 32 and 28 nanometer manufacturing process technology. And it’s developing more advanced 20 and 14 nanometer process technologies, the source added. Linley Gwennap, principal analyst of The Linley Group, doesn’t see Apple owning capacity, however. ‘I don’t see why Apple would buy a fab, but they might front some money to Globalfoundries to guarantee access,’ he told CNET.”
Read more in the full article here.