Next Generation A6 Chip To Be Manufactured By Samsung After All?

A6 chip

The intense legal battle between Apple and Samsung doesn’t seem to be adversely affecting the business relationship the two companies share. According to a Korea Times report, Samsung will continue supplying Apple with the processors used on iOS devices.

Contrary to earlier reports that said Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) would be manufacturing Apple’s next generation A6 chips, The Korea Times says:

“Apple has been in talks with Samsung over shipment of its A6 quad-core mobile processor (AP) chips to be used in the next iPhone. It appears that Apple clearly has concluded that Samsung remains a critical business partner,” an executive from an Apple parts supplier based in Korea said on condition of anonymity.

What about the 60 people TSMC sent to Apple’s HQ from Taiwan? According to the report:

TSMC will provide customized chips with designs from Apple, however, the volume will be very small

[…]

The manufacturing process at TSMC hasn’t been stabilized. Considering Apple’s previous patterns of adopting qualified technologies, Apple isn’t taking risks. Samsung offers better pricing and capacity commitment for the A6 mobile APs

So it looks like Apple is keen on working with TSMC to sideline Samsung as the primary chip supplier for iOS devices, but for some reason TSMC isn’t able to deliver.

The news flow in the past few days is a perfect indicator of how awkward the relationship between Apple and Samsung presently is. While Reuters reported that Samsung’s president and COO (same person) was invited to Steve Jobs’ memorial, WSJ carried news about Samsung “counter-attacking” Apple via lawsuits in Japan and Australia.

The WSJ article has a quote from the Samsung COO on the awkward relationship:

“Apple is one of Samsung’s most important clients, and we have developed a solid partnership. But that’s a separate matter from the legal disputes between the two companies in areas where they compete”

Over time, it appears that Apple would decrease its reliance on Samsung for essential device components, just like it’s working on reducing its dependence on Google for essential iOS software.

[via The Korea Times]