TMSC May Not Accept Apple As A Client Until Late 2013

Earlier this month, speculations of Apple planning to switch to TSMC for its custom A-series processors by early 2013 grew stronger but now, Wall Street Journal reports that Taiwan based semiconductor manufacturer may not accept Apple as a client until late 2013.


Previously, Apple has attempted to secure exclusive access to TMSC, with proposals of more than $1 billion, but failed. However, the Cupertino giant is now more keen than ever to find an alternative supplier to Samsung for its microprocessors, because the two companies have been embroiled in patent litigation across the globe.

Meanwhile, TMSC Chairman Morris Chang has hinted about building another plant across the Pacific, which according to analysts, suggests that TSMC is planning to start manufacturing microprocessors for Apple, although technology constraints mean that would have to wait until late 2013.

TSMC, which already has a plant in Camas, Washington, “is always evaluating various locations for plant expansion, and the U.S. could be one of the options,” Mr. Chang said on Dec. 14, a week after Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook said it plans to make some Mac computers in the U.S. for the first time in about a decade.

“Considering Samsung’s and TSMC’s process technology roadmap, we think the actual move will not take place until [TSMC produces] 20-nanometer [chips] in late 2013 with limited quantity. Meaningful production at TSMC wouldn’t happen until 2014,” said Bernstein Research analyst Mark Newman.

TSMC, whose major clients include Qualcomm Inc., Advanced Micro Devices Inc., and Texas Instruments Inc., will migrate to 20-nanometer technology and expects to start mass production for the more advanced chips in late 2013.