Samsung/Globalfoundries, TSMC fight to land Apple A9 processor orders

“The Samsung Electronics and Globalfoundries team reportedly has landed orders for its 14nm FinFET process from Qualcomm and Apple, with related foundry services to begin in early 2015, according to industry sources in Taiwan,” Josephine Lien and Steve Shen report for DigiTmes.

“The 14nm products will be rolled out from Samsung’s Fab 8 in New York, said the sources, adding that Fab 8 will have an installed capacity of 60,000 wafers a month for the 14nm process,” Lien and Shen report. “It remains uncertain as how Apple would distribute its A9 processor orders to related foundry houses since Intel is also a potential contender for the orders, the sources noted.

Lien and Shen report, “Meanwhile, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) will also exert efforts to retain Apple’s orders, including the A9 orders, by advancing into 16nm FinFET processes, noted the sources, adding that TSMC also plans to roll out a 16nm FinFET Turbo process tailored to Apple’s requirements.”

Read more in the full article here.

9 Comments

  1. Is it just me, or do you also think Apple is risking a lot by having Sam-dung fab their chips? I mean, they have all the Apple technology right in front of them! They don’t have to steal it; Apple’s giving it to them!

    1. While I share your trepidation regarding Samsung, I have to believe that Apple would not engage a Samsung foundry unless it had to do so to ensure component supply/pricing and it was convinced that it did not pose a serious threat in terms of technology theft.

      My assumption (which is certainly open to debate) is that the design of Apple’s custom A-series CPUs is not of direct value to Samsung (Android or Tizen) since it is customized for iOS. That is yet another example of Apple’s genius in knowing when and how to leverage industry technology (licensed ARM CPU designs, in this case) in a manner that provides Apple with an advantage.

      Samsung seems more focused on copying Apple at the macro level – product design, look and feel, features, etc. than at the nuts and bolts level.

  2. Bad news for Austin if the Apple contract fab work is moving to New York. I wonder if that will have any effect on Apple staffing levels in Texas. Of course the Mac Pro assembly plant will still be here, and a lot of other projects, but there has been considerable synergy between Apple and its iOS chip fabricators.

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