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Rumor has Apple buying into chip fabrication plant

updated 01:05 pm EDT, Fri July 12, 2013

A-series chips could become entirely in-house

Apple has bought into a chip fabrication plant, a SemiAccurate report claims. The full story is hidden behind a paywall, but is tagged with "UMC," likely a reference to Taiwan's United Microelectronics Corporation. If correct, the report could signify that Apple is planning to both design and manufacture its own processors; currently the company is believed to rely on Samsung and/or TSMC for its A-series chips.

In keeping with its name, SemiAccurate has a mixed track record. In 2011 it suggested that MacBooks would switch from Intel processors to A-series chips, but that failed to materialize. It did, however, accurately predict that Apple would switch MacBooks back to NVIDIA graphics after an earlier falling-out between the two companies.

by MacNN Staff




  1. cashxx

    Junior Member

    Joined: 04-13-09

    I'm still shocked Apple didn't buy AMD back in the day instead of moving to Intel!! They would have had there own X86 processor and ATI Graphics and today could have rolled into its mix the mobile ARM processors!

  1. Spheric Harlot

    Clinically Insane

    Joined: 11-07-99

    Apple had nowhere near the sales back in 2006 to be able to roll their own boutique solution and keep up with intel. That was part of the reason they had to get away from PowerPC. So buying their own chip architecture was completely out of the question at the time.

    Intel will work with Apple on things like the ULV core duos for the MacBook Air, because they know they'll be able to sell the technology into 20 million other laptops down the line. And that was where intel was going anyway, and where Apple needed to be.

    With the ARM chips for iOS devices, the situation is different. Apple isn't selling three or five million of these things a year, they're selling a HUNDRED million. And their market and cash position are such that they can afford to invest here and move even further beyond what the competition could ever hope to achieve. They already have the custom chip design in-house, anyway.

  1. shawnde

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 04-01-08

    @Spheric Harlot

    While I agree with all your argument, I believe in general, Apple is not good with acquisitions in general. It seems that it's the company's DNA not to do buyouts that much. Along the way, there were MANY fabs and chip foundries that Apple could have bought but they didn't. In 2002, Apple could have bought Silicon Graphics for $280M, which even during those times was pocket change for Apple. Under that umbrella, they would have had most of the patents under OpenGL; they would have picked up a massive amount of chip/RAM foundry patents (MIPS and SGI's Infinite Memory thing). Included as a bonus would have been Maya, Matador, Wavefront and Cray Mainframes, along with hundreds of ongoing contracts in government and big iron corporate .... it was a perfect fit, and yet Steve didn't even consider it.

    Apple should have BOUGHT Marvel, StrongARM, many others. They missed Goodreads, they missed Admob, they missed so many little things which would have helped along the way.

    We'll see.

  1. Spheric Harlot

    Clinically Insane

    Joined: 11-07-99

    They didn't miss Admob; they lost the bidding, IIRC.

    None of the companies you mention would have been such a great match, especially because of the additional contractual obligations. Apple makes acquisitions all the time (you just never hear about most of them), but they do so to become MORE independent.

    They never buy stuff just because they can.

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