Apple has struck a deal with the world's biggest contract microchip
maker in what analysts see as an attempt to reduce its reliance on
arch-rival Samsung, a report said.
The US tech giant forged the
agreement with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC) earlier this
month, according to the Wall Street Journal, which cited unidentified
It said manufacturing of the chips, to be used in Apple mobile devices, would start early next year.
Journal said the move is the latest in a series of efforts by Apple to
lessen its reliance on parts produced by South Korea's Samsung.
despite the deal with TSMC, Samsung will remain Apple's main supplier
of high-resolution screens, memory chips and processors used in mobile
devices through next year, the Journal said.
TSMC spokeswoman Elizabeth Sun declined to comment when approached by AFP.
"In line with the company's established policy, we will not comment on individual clients," she said.
see the deal as part of Apple's bid to diversify its supply chains and
distance itself from Samsung, its main competitor in the mobile phone
"It is inevitable that Apple must move to reduce its
reliance on Samsung while their legal lawsuits over patents flare," an
analyst at a foreign firm in Taipei told AFP, declining to be named.
won a round in its long-running patents battle with Apple in early June
when a US trade panel banned the import and sale of some older models
of the iPhone and iPad.
In a separate patent fight in US federal
court, Samsung was ordered last August to pay more than $1 billion for
patent infringement. A judge later slashed the award to $598.9 million.
diversifying its supply chains, Apple could also cut its costs, Kuo
Ming-chi, analyst at the Taipei-based KGI Securities Investment Advisory
Co, told AFP.
"This is crucial as Apple's profit margin fell to
around 37 percent in the first quarter, down from a peak of around 45
Kuo said the diversification policy was also reflected
in Apple's movement of some of its assembly orders away from Taiwanese
manufacturing conglomerate Hon Hai, also known as Foxconn.
employs about one million workers in China, roughly half of them based
in its main facility in Shenzhen bordering Hong Kong.
Apple and TSMC started discussing working together to build chips as early as 2010, according to the Journal report.
Apple asked either to invest in TSMC, or to have TSMC set aside factory space dedicated to Apple chips, it said.
both requests were rejected as the Taiwanese company wanted to maintain
its independence and manufacturing flexibility, the Journal said.