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Apple buys into United Microelectronics Corporation; planning to build its own chips?

Posted: , by Michael H.

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Apple buys into United Microelectronics Corporation; planning to build its own chips?
As we all know by now, Apple and Samsung have had something of a disagreement going for a while now. And, the ongoing litigation between the two companies has put a strain on their relationship, which has had Samsung manufacturing the processors that are used in iOS devices. There have been a lot of rumors that Apple is planning to ditch Samsung, but a new rumor says that Apple may just build its own chips.

The rumors have been circulating that Apple is looking to TSMC to build chips, and has even signed a deal with the company that could begin next year. But, SemiAccurate is reporting that TSMC doesn't have the "capacity or flexibility" that Apple needs to meet demands; and, to make up the difference Apple has bought into United Microelectronics Corporation, a Taiwan-based chipmaker.

We can't get at the full story, because SemiAccurate charges $1,000 per year for access, but apparently Apple has made a sizeable investment in UMC that could go beyond a manufacturing partnership and into territory which would have Apple building its own chips. We have already seen Apple hiring ex-AMD employees, and we all know how Apple likes to control its own hardware, so the rumor may not be that far fetched.

SemiAccurate has a... semi-accurate history with Apple rumors. The site had predicted Apple would ditch Intel in favor of ARM processors for its Mac line, which never happened, but it did accurately predict Apple returning to NVIDIA for graphics. 

31 Comments
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posted on 12 Jul 2013, 11:25 3

1. zekes (Posts: 201; Member since: 14 Aug 2012)


yes apple good move

posted on 12 Jul 2013, 23:52 1

27. lyndon420 (Posts: 1641; Member since: 11 Jul 2012)


I agree. I'm sure they began to see the benefits of making more of their own hardware/chips.

posted on 12 Jul 2013, 11:39 6

2. WHoyton1 (Posts: 1618; Member since: 21 Feb 2013)


Theapple chip.....I swear that's part of a happy meal McDonalds.....

posted on 12 Jul 2013, 12:15 3

3. darkkjedii (Posts: 9280; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)


Best move apple could ever make

posted on 12 Jul 2013, 12:38

5. Googler (Posts: 813; Member since: 10 Jun 2013)


Definitely one of. Samsung figured it out a long time ago, kinda surprised it took others as long as it has to go this route.

posted on 12 Jul 2013, 13:30 1

11. darkkjedii (Posts: 9280; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)


Samsung become a super power from that smart decision too.

posted on 12 Jul 2013, 17:51

22. Napalm_3nema (Posts: 598; Member since: 14 Jun 2013)


Apple has owned stakes in ARMH and Imagination (PowerVR) for years. They have purchased, outright, three chip companies in the last decade, including PA Semiconductors. This is nothing new for them. As for Samsung, they are just an ARM licensee, and Apple has an ARM Architecture license.

posted on 12 Jul 2013, 20:28

25. darkkjedii (Posts: 9280; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)


Apple will do well in whatever venture they take on, cuz they have the know how capitol, and partnering. Fanboys want them to fail, want them gone, but lets be real...not gonna happen.

posted on 13 Jul 2013, 09:23

30. joey_sfb (Posts: 1973; Member since: 29 Mar 2012)


it's hater that want Apple to fail not fanboys.

posted on 12 Jul 2013, 17:42

19. ph00ny (Posts: 565; Member since: 26 May 2011)


It's still an uphill battle in the foundry business.

Samsung was fortunate to have had the capacity in foundry business due to DRAM manufacturing.

As for ditching TSMC, that might be a smart choice. Look at the number of times it botched Nvidia's product launch due to yield issues

posted on 13 Jul 2013, 00:02

28. rantao333 (Posts: 157; Member since: 21 May 2013)


cannot agree more with you, only the irrational "geek / tech guy" would think that samsung is clean and innocent. and belief they own high technologies

trace back the history. samsung has a great record for backstabbing partners, copying & stealing technology, ideas. ppl think that samsung made great tv, they dont realised that samsung steal it from SONY after they join venture as S-LCD back in 2004. samsung slowly eating sony market share by offering "sony" product at a way more cheaper price & market it with tons of ads.

same thing happened with apple & samsung.

in business they is nothing wrong with samsung, so do APPLE suing samsung. and getting 10 billion.

SO pple stop being a s h e e p!

posted on 12 Jul 2013, 19:08 1

23. ardent1 (Posts: 1983; Member since: 16 Apr 2011)


A lot people don't realized that APPLE helped build Samsung's business, i.e. people don't know how Samsung backstabbed Apple.

In order to secured Flash memory, Apple commited $5 billions to its suppliers in exchange for long term contracts in 2005. Ths money was used by Samsung to help expand their Flash memory capacity. See link:http://www.apple.com/pr/library/2005/11/21Apple-Announces-Long-Term-Supply-Agreements-for-Flash-Memory.html.

As for DRAM info, Apple is very tight-lipped about disclosing this type of info; however, Tim Cook did disclose there are strategic relationships with DRAM supplers.

Reade this article about how Samsung Mobility looked into Apple's Samsung relationship to gain an edge. http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-03-28/how-samsung-became-the-worlds-no-dot-1-smartphone-maker

It is a KNOWN fact that Apple played a huge role in helping Samsung become a giant in the electronics business only to see Samsung's Mobility Business steal from Apple. Talk about backstabbing. The Businessweek article makes it clear to the average person how Samsung gleams inside, confidential information from customers (even those with long term relationships) to benefit itself. If you do business with Samsung, you might be digging your own grave.

posted on 12 Jul 2013, 20:00 2

24. ph00ny (Posts: 565; Member since: 26 May 2011)


You make it sound as if Apple is the only reason samsung is where they are at now. What about apple? They probably wouldn't be where they are at now without samsung seeing how they bailed them out of few pinched launches where LG and Sharp failed to meet the yield required for a product launch

posted on 12 Jul 2013, 22:24 4

26. willard12 (Posts: 549; Member since: 04 Jul 2012)


"Good artists copy, great artists steal." - Apple founder and CEO

posted on 12 Jul 2013, 12:52 2

7. daddysbeenabadgirl (Posts: 157; Member since: 26 Jul 2012)


3 better moves they should make:
1. Add SD card slot
2. Add removable battery
3. Give people options instead of telling people what they need then changing their minds and contradicting themselves a la screen size...

posted on 12 Jul 2013, 13:48 1

13. WHoyton1 (Posts: 1618; Member since: 21 Feb 2013)


1.best move they good make for SOME people...others like the unibody design
2.I bet you don't say that about the HTC One!
3.LOL most people who buy apple products buy them because they like what apple has done and besides the closed system you say creates the best tech ecosystem anywhere eg. Someone can connect there iPhone to their iPad to their Macbook to their iMac to the Apple TV in an instant!

posted on 12 Jul 2013, 14:24 3

14. TylerGrunter (Posts: 782; Member since: 16 Feb 2012)


1. Who said you can´t have SD card slopt & unibody design?
That´s valid for the removable battery, but NOT for the SD card slot.
The only reason iPones don´t have it is to segment the market and differenciate the "not price-concious" people, in oethe words: that is an excuse to be able to charge more to the people that don´t care much about money. It´s and old marketing strategy.
And yes, many people say the same about the HTC One, but at least they have the decency to start at 32 GB... not 16 like the iphone for the same price.

posted on 12 Jul 2013, 17:22

18. Airforce (Posts: 61; Member since: 24 Jul 2012)


well i think the NON-REMOVABLE BATTERY,ND NO SD CARD SLOT..is just an IDENTITY to the iphone that Apple wants to create..the only new thing that is really important now is SCREEN SIZE...am so tired of the Candy Bar phone....CANDY IS FOR KIDS NOT ADULTS

posted on 13 Jul 2013, 00:44

29. justsayit (Posts: 112; Member since: 09 May 2013)


not like that,
most people cannot buy a ios device is because it price very high
it should reduce its price
and new ios device like one low-end, one mid-ranger and the device must be zero-lag, compare to high-end ios device ,it just lose on lower screen resolution, camera, front camera enough!

posted on 12 Jul 2013, 13:17 1

9. ZeroCide (Posts: 678; Member since: 09 Jan 2013)


not really it may cost theme more to run the foundery than to buy direct.

posted on 12 Jul 2013, 13:35

12. kozza3 (Posts: 573; Member since: 17 Oct 2012)


large scale is always cheaper :)

posted on 12 Jul 2013, 17:44 1

20. ph00ny (Posts: 565; Member since: 26 May 2011)


Bingo. Foundry business requires ton of R&D to stay competitive not just in manufacturing capacity but in technology as well

posted on 12 Jul 2013, 12:16

4. kozza3 (Posts: 573; Member since: 17 Oct 2012)


stock is pretty cheap

posted on 12 Jul 2013, 12:42 1

6. aditya.k (Posts: 409; Member since: 10 Mar 2013)


iChip, LOL!

posted on 12 Jul 2013, 13:17 2

10. ZeroCide (Posts: 678; Member since: 09 Jan 2013)


they can contact Lays to make those.

posted on 12 Jul 2013, 12:58 3

8. Bootutu (Posts: 162; Member since: 11 Jul 2013)


Apple can never make good chips, they will try, be stubborn, loose out and make a 180 degree turn and go back to competition

posted on 12 Jul 2013, 15:22 2

16. ZeroCide (Posts: 678; Member since: 09 Jan 2013)


That is their track record.

posted on 12 Jul 2013, 15:01 1

15. Topcat488 (Posts: 1039; Member since: 29 Sep 2012)


If Apple intend on keeping up with the front runners, they MUST own their own product, not outsource it... That way you keep people from spying... And copying, good move Apple.

posted on 12 Jul 2013, 17:45 1

21. ph00ny (Posts: 565; Member since: 26 May 2011)


There is a good reason why key SoC companies do not manufacture their own products and apple may learn this the hard way if they're actually transitioning into manufacturing components

posted on 12 Jul 2013, 17:11

17. livyatan (Posts: 560; Member since: 19 Jun 2013)


If Apple haven't yet ditched x86 for their Mac line, it doesn't mean semi accurate got it wrong.
Such move takes a lot of time and it would be pretty crazy to expect they start shipping ARM(Swift) Macs already

posted on 15 Jul 2013, 02:28

31. itsdeepak4u2000 (Posts: 2099; Member since: 03 Nov 2012)


iChip is coming.

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