Apple hasn’t officially dumped rival and partner Samsung as the manufacturer of chips for its mobile devices just yet. But the widespread anticipation of its new contract with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. is expected to be a boon for chip foundries as soon as this year.
The revenue for the semiconductor foundry market is expected rise 21 percent over the course of this year, according to IHS iSuppli’s report, Low-Cost Tablet Processor Market Computes New Growth, published Thursday. That’s compared to the five percent growth expected for the overall semiconductor market. Foundries alone should pull in $8.2 billion for the year, up from the $7.9 billion of 2012.
Last month it was reported that Apple will begin filling its mobile chip orders through TSMC, the world’s biggest foundry by sales, for its products beginning in 2014. Next year, Apple orders are expected to account for nearly 8 percent TMSC’s overall revenues.
Foundries are distinguished from integrated device manufacturers — like Samsung and Intel — because they only build the chips to order; the chips are designed by their customers. Apple already designs its own chips, so all it does need is a company that will build them. And since it’s always among the world’s biggest purchases of chips, any move Apple makes will have a significant impact.
Apple and Samsung have been going head to head competing for smartphone and tablet sales to consumers — and then there was that minor billion-dollar lawsuit matter. Since then, Apple has been looking to extricate itself from its deep ties to Samsung in many parts of its supply chain.