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

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. 

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30 Comments

1. zekes

Posts: 230; Member since: Aug 14, 2012

yes apple good move

2. WHoyton1

Posts: 1635; Member since: Feb 21, 2013

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

3. darkkjedii

Posts: 31055; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Best move apple could ever make

5. Googler

Posts: 813; Member since: Jun 10, 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.

11. darkkjedii

Posts: 31055; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Samsung become a super power from that smart decision too.

22. Napalm_3nema

Posts: 2236; Member since: Jun 14, 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.

25. darkkjedii

Posts: 31055; Member since: Feb 05, 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.

30. joey_sfb

Posts: 6794; Member since: Mar 29, 2012

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

19. ph00ny

Posts: 2031; Member since: May 26, 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

28. rantao333

Posts: 346; Member since: May 21, 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!

23. ardent1

Posts: 2000; Member since: Apr 16, 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.

24. ph00ny

Posts: 2031; Member since: May 26, 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

26. willard12 unregistered

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

7. daddysbeenabadgirl

Posts: 157; Member since: Jul 26, 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...

13. WHoyton1

Posts: 1635; Member since: Feb 21, 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!

14. TylerGrunter

Posts: 1544; Member since: Feb 16, 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.

18. Airforce

Posts: 70; Member since: Jul 24, 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

29. justsayit

Posts: 256; Member since: May 09, 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!

9. ZeroCide

Posts: 814; Member since: Jan 09, 2013

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

12. kozza3

Posts: 778; Member since: Oct 17, 2012

large scale is always cheaper :)

20. ph00ny

Posts: 2031; Member since: May 26, 2011

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

4. kozza3

Posts: 778; Member since: Oct 17, 2012

stock is pretty cheap

6. aditya.k

Posts: 496; Member since: Mar 10, 2013

iChip, LOL!

10. ZeroCide

Posts: 814; Member since: Jan 09, 2013

they can contact Lays to make those.

8. Bootutu

Posts: 228; Member since: Jul 11, 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

16. ZeroCide

Posts: 814; Member since: Jan 09, 2013

That is their track record.

15. Topcat488

Posts: 1415; Member since: Sep 29, 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.

21. ph00ny

Posts: 2031; Member since: May 26, 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

17. livyatan

Posts: 867; Member since: Jun 19, 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

31. itsdeepak4u2000

Posts: 3718; Member since: Nov 03, 2012

iChip is coming.

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