To further strengthen their business relationship, Samsung and Globalfoundries announced that they have agreed to adopt the same chip production process as they upgrade their manufacturing services (via the Wall Street Journal). They will sync their fabs so that, regardless of whether Apple goes to Samsung or Globalfoundries, it will receive essentially identical chips.
The announcement is in line with previous efforts: The two companies already synced two fabs four years ago, and rumours have surfaced that Globalfoundries could manufacture Apple’s A-series chips.
Now, Globalfoundries will adopt Samsung’s 14-nanometre process and drop the technology it had been developing. The adoption of Samsung’s process has technical benefits and also uses common production tools and materials.
“What really drove us to this agreement was a strong pull from customers,” said Ana Hunter, Globalfoundries’ vice president of product management. “They see the value in really having one process where they have choice and flexibility in the manufacturing options that they have.”
Apple made headlines when the company announced that it wants to reduce its reliance on its fiercest competitor, Samsung, as the company inked a partnership with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) last year to manufacture its A-series chips.
It is still unknown what impact the partnership between Samsung and Globalfoundries will have on the Appe-TSMC deal. What is noteworthy, though, is that TSMC chips failed to appear in Apple’s iPhones last year, and they weren’t spotted in other iDevices, either. Rumours claim that TSMC has started manufacturing Apple’s A-series chips using a 20nm process and will switch to a 14nm process next year.
Intel, however, will be the first company to start manufacturing chips using 14nm technology, with production believed to kick off this quarter. The chip maker will be followed by Samsung later this year, and Globalfoundries will join the line some time next year.
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