As crazy as things have been getting between Apple and Samsung in their ongoing patent war, you knew it was only a matter of time before the fight spilled outside of the court room. We continue to hear rumors and reports that Apple is looking to move away from the Korean company as a component manufacturer — it’s already doing this with displays, and could soon start doing it with processors…
We heard back in September that Apple was looking to take its iPhone and iPad chip business elsewhere, and have since heard subsequent reports. A lot of people seem to think that Apple is going to take up with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company. But today, RBC Capital’s Doug Freedman says that it’s actually looking to go with Intel, and discussions between the two have already begun.
“Acknowledging that there’s been speculation about this in the past, Freedman moves the ball forward by spelling out the terms of a possible deal:
Intel would agree to use Apple’s preferred architecture for the iPhone — the one from Intel’s British rival, ARM Holdings. And in return, Apple would agree to switch to Intel’s x86 architecture for the iPad.”
That’s right, your future iPad could could have an Intel inside. Freedman says that Apple is looking to go with the Santa-Clara based company because of its ability to manufacture chips at scale. “We believe,” he says, that “Intel has the upper-hand due to the limitations of capacity at alternative sources” — chiefly TSMC and GlobalFoundries. He estimates Apple’s foundry business could be worth $2B next year.
Of course, Apple could still go with TSMC, or GlobalFoundries. Or it could decide to go with multiple manufacturers to diversify its supplier base. Whoever it chooses, though, the real loser is Samsung. The company currently manufacturers chips for Apple’s iPhone, iPad, iPod touch and Apple TV. And many believe that its loss of that business would be absolutely devastating for its supplier arm.