Apple and Samsung have long been the star-crossed lovers of the computer industry. The companies have been locked into multiple court battles over patents, even as Samsung has been one of Apple’s largest component suppliers. Now there are signs Apple is trying to back away from Samsung for component production.
The Korea Times now takes a look at how the relationship between the two companies has evolved from a “love-hate” relationship to a “hate-hate” one. The report highlights Apple’s move to cut Samsung out of the chip development process for the new A6 system-on-a-chip found in the iPhone 5, with Samsung simply serving as a foundry to manufacture the chip and no longer contributing its expertise to designing Apple’s chips.
Industry sources say that Apple has not collaborated with Samsung in the development of the A6 microprocessor, which is used in the latest iPhone 5. While Apple is still using Samsung’s facilities to manufacture the chips, it will apparently not be using any of its rival’s technology. This is according to a senior Samsung official, who said Samsung’s agreement with Apple is limited to the fabrication of the A6 processors. The official said, “Apple did all the design and we are just producing the chips on a foundry basis.”
With the hiring of Samsung chip designer Jim Mergard, and a reported plan to shift A-series chip production to TSMC, Apple appears to be seeking to distance itself from Samsung. It may be difficult however, for Apple to sever its component relationships with the Korean company, as Samsung’s technical and manufacturing skill could make it difficult to shift to other suppliers.