GlobalFoundries May Land Chip Manufacturing Orders from Apple

GlobalFoundries and Samsung to Fight Against TSMC Together

by Anton Shilov
11/13/2013 | 11:56 PM

GlobalFoundries, the world’s No. 2 foundry, may become the second chip manufacturing partner for Apple as the later wants to diversify its suppliers as well as expand production of its chips.

 

Neither GlobalFoundries nor Samsung Semiconductor can offer production capacities comparable to those that Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. can provide. But the two contract maker of semiconductors use similar process technologies and can serve the same clients, thus, providing an alternative to TSMC. This potential opportunity may be behind the plan to make GlobalFoundries second foundry for Apple.

Despite of decreasing market share, actual sales of Apple consumer products – most of which rely on the company’s own application processors – are increasing pretty rapidly. As a result, the company needs more and more chips. Historically, Samsung Semiconductor made chips for Apple. However, nowadays, Samsung has to make chips not only for Apple, but for its own devices as well, which may be tricky given limited production capacities.

In a bid to get a second source for its application processors, Apple has reached an agreement with GlobalFoundries and Samsung Semiconductor under which the latter will help the former to initiate making Apple system-on-chips at the Fab 8 in Malta, New York, reports TimesUnion web-site. Samsung itself will continue production of A5, A6, A6X and A7 app processors at its S2 fab in Austin, Texas. 

Since GlobalFoundries and Samsung have similar 28nm and 20nm process technologies, they can manufacture essentially the same chips, which allows the two to address large customers with gargantuan orders together.

“We don’t comment on customer engagements or products unless they do so first. That is our standard policy,” said Jason Gorss, a spokesman for GlobalFoundries.