Don't read too much into Apple's
working relationship with rival Samsung
over the past several years, it's just business. Though these two companies are about as friendly with each other as the Montague and Capulet clans, it benefited both parties to have Samsung supply the custom processors used in Apple's highly popular iPhone line, but that working relationship might be coming to an end now that TSMC
is getting more involved.
Citing "people familiar with the matter," The Wall Street Journal
says TSMC started shipping its first batch of microprocessors to Apple in the second quarter of this year. Those chips will find their way into Apple's upcoming iPhone 6
, and just as importantly, it reduces the Cupertino company's reliance on Samsung.
Image Source: TSMC
Now armed with a second chip manufacturer, Apple has additional leverage to hammer out price agreements with Samsung, as it's no longer the sole chip supplier. At the same time, Apple will want to tread carefully, at least until TSMC proves that it can keep up with demand. For now, Apple seems confident the chip maker can, as the two have already agreed to collaborate on more advanced processors next year.
As for Samsung, the timing couldn't be any worse. Samsung's chip sales are down due to a slowdown in smartphone demand around the world, and with TSMC getting in on the action, it means Samsung will be producing (and selling) even fewer mobile chips.