CEO of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, Morris Chang, has recently released a statement saying that his company will sell more of its new 2o nanometer process technology than the currently available 28 nanometer version within two years. As Chang said:
“Enough discussions have taken place, with enough customers who have large requirements (on 20nm), to lead us to believe that the volume will be very large”
This suggests that Apple is planning to order a ‘very large’ volume of chips from the Taiwanese manufacturer.
TSMC is the world’s largest semiconductor maker, serving plenty of the most popular chip companies, such as Nvidia and Qualcomm, and – if recent reports are to be believed – the business will also build chips for Apple. Apple is expected to switch its supplier from Samsung to TSMC because of the ongoing court battles with the Korean company, and – according to The New York Times – TSMC is one of the few companies (other than Samsung) that is capable of coping with the demand from such a technological giant as Apple. NYT also pointed out that – unlike Samsung – TSMC probably won’t compete with Apple in the field of “finished consumer electronics”, which would entice the folks in Cupertino to switch chip suppliers:
The added incentive is, TSMC solely makes chips by contract, and probably will never compete with Apple in finished consumer electronics as Samsung has.
“This is the reason that companies such as Nvidia and AMD, which actually compete against each other in PCs, both go to TSMC (to make their chips),” Patrick Liao, an analyst at Nomura Securities, said. “They never worry about technology theft.”
A deal between TSMC and Apple has been suspected for a short while now, with suspicions arising just last week when the chip supplier’s shipments tripled, leading some to believe in a trial run of TSMC products from Apple.
The 20 nanometer process that sparked this story is to begin next year, meaning that – should Apple switch suppliers – a product containing TSMC internals won’t debut until 2014.