updated 12:05 pm EST, Wed January 18, 2012
TSMC hints at big mobile, PC resurgence
TSMC in trimming back its expectations for 2012 also gave a possible clue as to a big mobile push early in the year. Company CFO Lora Ho anticipated a double-digit climb in demand for processors both in home electronics and PCs, implying some level of mobile technology. CEO Morris Chang added that the US would do relatively well in 2012, and that most of the poor performance would come from Europe and Japan.
It still saw the chip industry as a whole growing two percent in 2012 instead of three to five, and had cut back its capital expenses 18 percent to reduce the amount of expansion. TSMC's own guidance was positive. It saw its revenue defying the seasonal slump for the first three months of the year, roughly staying flat at the equivalent of $3.4 billion to $3.5 billion. Only some of the improvement would come from needing to restock from strong holiday sales.
No mention was made of which customers might be driving any increases.
The short-term optimism would come as the first 28 nanometer mobile chips start reaching customers and after repeated rumors of TSMC making chips for Apple. Although some have said Samsung would continue as Apple's main chip contractor, TSMC has been rumored making at least some A6 chips for future iPads and eventually iPhones. Early 2012 production spikes would line up with an iPad refresh at the start of spring, although TSMC could be serving customers with older technology as well as AMD, Android customers, and new graphics chipsets from AMD and NVIDIA.
Intel, by contrast, has lowered its guidance its fall results due to hard drive shortages and isn't as likely to bounce back in the winter. [via Financial Times]