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TSMC Planning Massive New U.S. Factory for Apple Chip Production

TSMC Planning Massive New U.S. Factory for Apple Chip Production

The Oregonian is reporting today that Business Oregon, the state’s economic development agency, and officials in New York may both be competing to attract the massive chip making factory, code name “Azelea.”

The Oregonian, via MacRumors:

Business Oregon — the state’s economic development agency — confirms that it’s recruiting a company that goes by the codename “Azalea.” The department declined to discuss details of the effort, citing a nondisclosure agreement with the unnamed company.

However, officials in New York have been actively pursuing what’s known there as “Project Azalea.” Documents obtained by The Business Review, an Albany, N.Y., weekly, describe that project as a 3.2-million-square-foot semiconductor factory that would employ at least 1,000 people.

The costs of building and equipping a semiconductor fabricating plant can run into the billions of dollars. As you can imagine, such a possibility attracts great interest from local governments looking to boost the local economy.

“Project Azalea” is rumored to be a facility  that would build microprocessors for Apple’s iOS devices, the iPhone and iPad.

The company behind the project is believed by most to be the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC).

TSMC and Apple have been linked by various rumors over the last two years, saying the company is the most likely partner for Apple as the Cupertino company moves away from “frenemy” Samsung because of the ongoing legal disputes between the companies.

Samsung currently fabricates all of the custom A-series processors Apple uses in it’s iOS devices, including the latest A6 chip used in the iPhone 5 and the A6X chip used in the 4th-generation iPad. However, rumors have Apple moving toward TSMC, in order to break away from Samsung, and to take advantage of TSMC’s 20 nanometer process.

TSMC turned down overtures from both Apple and Qualcomm back in August, when they placed bids for exclusive access to TSMC’s chip production. The company did indicate however, that it might possibly devote a factory to a single customer in the future.

Is the future now?

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