A report from DigiTimes indicates Apple is putting the squeeze on A9 chip makers Samsung and TSMC, by pushing both companies for last-minute price concessions.
DigiTimes reports TSMC is “inclined to refuse,” while Samsung has agreed to a discount on the chips, as well as offering “almost free backend services” in an attempt to grab the lion’s share of A9 chip orders. TSMC’s refusal to cut prices could indeed result in its losing some of Apple’s A9 business to Samsung.
TSMC’s 16nm chip orders from other customers are reported to be too small to make full use of the company’s foundry capacity for the new node. This could lead to a slower TSMC ramp up of its 16nm FinFET production capacity. TSMC’s original 16nm output capacity target was 30,000 per month, but a cutback in orders from Cupertino could lead to a reduction of under 20,000 units per month.
Reports have indicated that Samsung and TSMC have been both pushing hard to get the biggest piece of Apple’s A9 business, with various reports indicating each had succeeded in grabbing the biggest slice of the pie. This latest DigiTimes report indicates Samsung may now be in the driver’s seat.
9to5Mac notes that while previous reports have claimed TSMC will make all of the A9X chips destined for Apple’s iPad lineup, it is unclear if the chip price negotiations also included those lower volume, but more powerful chips.