back to article Apple’s long divorce from Samsung near final

The strained relationship between Apple and Samsung has moved a step closer to fracturing completely, with a report in the Chinese-language Commercial Times refreshing rumours that TSMC will become Cupertino’s new best friend. According to the report, summarized in Digitimes, a Taipei-based Merryl Lynch analyst Dan Heyler …


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  1. Dazed and Confused


    Surely everyone else would be scared of being sued because Apple are bound to claim they've patented using TSMC manufactured chips. Maybe ones with rounded corners.

  2. Homer 1

    Let the bridge-burning begin!

    Apple dumps its betrayed "partner" after shafting it with a trollish looky-feely lawsuit, even though Samsung was probably more responsible for creating the current iPhone than Apple, and thus probably had more right to that "looky-feely" in the first place.

    Now Apple's left with a Taiwanese substitute that makes nothing of any notable shininess, and probably supplies even more Android manufacturers than the previous outsourced gadget-maker.

    Looks like Apple's about to discover how self-destructive greed can be.

    1. amanfromearth


      "even though Samsung was probably more responsible for creating the current iPhone than Apple"

      Trolling along, trolling along on the beautiful shiny sea...

    2. Giles Jones Gold badge


      Talk about reality distortion field. Just because you don't like Apple that doesn't mean you can make up such utter tripe.

      Since when has Samsung designed the iPhone software and hardware? erm, never. ARM design the CPU core in processors Apple use and Apple specify the rest of the chips contents. Samsung just manufacture them. Such simple manufacturing to designs means Apple can switch chip maker at any stage.

      Apple's industrial design is ahead of the competition, if it was Samsung designing the phone then why would all Samsungs products look like the dull dark grey crap that everyone else puts out?

    3. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

      I thought the lawsuit was about being a flat black rectangle

      with, as you say, rounded corners.

      Not the operating system. Although, "yeah, sure, hit 'em with that too." Windows has been touchy since at least the early oughties, though - if you bought a tablet, stylus, or touch PC product.

    4. fch

      "partner" vs. "supplier"

      ... is one of the things that you might be mixing up here. Just because your company chooses <X> as hardware / software / design / content supplier doesn't mean that the work done as part of this (whether that's hardware design/manufacturing, software development, even the design of the look & feel of the device or the stuff that's on it) is in any way "property" of <X>.

      You've paid <A> to produce / code / design for you, and anything created is yours and yours alone - their contribution is acknowledged by the hopefully not insignificant sums you pay.

      Or would you think it's ok if an Apple product designer walks out and opens a shop of their own selling blueprints looking awfully familiar ? Because the designer once worked on this stuff, it's fine to continue to cash in on it past-contract/employment ?

      These sorties between vendor and supplier are perfectly normal within the "smaller" embedded world, where switching suppliers happens because of a failure of trust as frequently as switching them for costs. Or both at once.

      Because the deal between Apple and Samsung is big, the fireworks show is obviously impressive. They're both entrenching for what they already arewere anyway - competitors.

  3. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    Does Samsung really care?

    Samsung electronics seems to be running at capacity and selling everything it can. Indeed, in some areas such as the gorgeous OLED screens it doesn't have enough capacity.

    As for cachet - I'm not sure if other Apple competitors will want to be on the same books as such an "esteemed" customer, likely to get the best components both earlier and cheaper than they are.

    1. Danny 5
      Thumb Up

      i agree

      i don't think the Korean Giant will lose any sleep over this. they're huge in the mobile market, but don't forget they're also huge in pretty much all other electronic equipment.

      i really don't understand why apple pushes so hard, the "look and feel" is too similar? there's tons of devices with the same look and feel, i'd be shocked if a patent claim on a device's dimensions and shape will work tbqf.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Does Samsung really care? Probably

      This fab upgrade in Austin ( was rumoured to be providing products just for Apple.

      While I'm sure Samsung will find a use for the capacity, I would be a little unhappy if I spent US$3.6 billion and didn't even get a kiss goodbye....

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    That's why Apple went DIY

    And this is why Apple wanted to design their own chips. They can move about, find better tech (28nm rather than 45nm), and I suppose better price (lower die area at that geometry, as well as a hard sell from TSMC I'd guess). If they were tied up using someone else's chip design they couldn't do this as easily.

    Welcome to the free market and all that - customers have a right to go where they will, and if you want them back you have to compete on price and technology. This just sounds like "good business" to me - I'd guess the "valuable" patents are to a degree just noise.

    1. lurker


      I think you are seriously overestimating the number of 'options' Apple actually have in terms of manufacturing partners who are actually able to meet their needs. This sounds like a major own-goal by Apple, to me.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        Is not a trivial task. TSMC have done a bit, but it's going to be a while before they get everything working at 28.

        And previous poster is right - Apple don't have many options in the fab department. TSMC and, er.....

  5. Tzael

    Xerox know a thing or two about being copied...

    Since Apple got away with copying Xerox' innovative graphical user interface back in the very late 70s and early 80s then it seems only fair that Apple should be willing to share their 'innovations' with other companies. Oh wait, that's right, iOS isn't exactly anything new in terms of its GUI...

    1. Steve Todd

      How many times do we have to say this

      Apple BOUGHT the rights to use Xerox's GUI ideas, they gave Xerox a big block of shares, which Xerox management being as useless as they are, were sold for cash.

      Now if Samsung had bought the rights to use Apple's design and ordinary patents (either by cash, shares or cross-licensing) they wouldn't be on the end of a lawsuit.

      1. Tzael

        Re: How many times do we have to say this

        Wrong - Apple negotiated a visit to see the Alto system in operation at Xerox's premises in exchange for stock. Apple did NOT exchange stock in return for being permitted to copy the Alto OS.

        Check your facts dude, sure you may or may not have been alive in 1979 but there's enough historical evidence that contradicts Apple's spin for even a young'un to be able to make an educated and informed analysis of what happened back then!

        As for the rest of those who jumped on me, since when has stating factual history been considered trolling? Are we so far removed from reality that we must regurgitate modern spin instead of telling the truth?

        1. Anonymous Coward


          Trolling troll trolls, there's a surprise.

          Were you there? Bruce Horn certainly was and he had this to say about it; You keep on believing what you read of Gizmodo though.

        2. Steve Todd

          @Tzael - facts are something that YOU need to work on

          Try starting here

          Xerox messed up in not asking for royalties, but they were the ones who asked Apple along to look at PARC. You think that Apple let them have 100,000 shares of pre IPO stock at $10 per share (worth $268 million today if they had kept them) just for a visit?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      House Rules...

      "4. No trolling - it's OK to be provocative, but trolling is another matter, unless it's an Apple article, then troll away..." There, fixed that for you.

    3. Anonymous Coward

      Would that be...

      the same Xerox that ripped off Doug Engelbart's and Ivan Sutherland's inventions like the point and click interface (Sutherland, Sketchpad, 1963) and the mouse (Engelbart and SRI, 1963)? Engelbart then "ripped" off the ideas from a chap named Vannevar Bush who came up with hyperlinking, a cornerstone of the UI, in 1945. It's never as simple as you silly little trolls like to claim. As pointed out, Apple paid Xerox handsomely for access to the technology. Engelbart himself actually asserts that the mouse 'migrated' to Xerox and then to Apple.

      1. icanonlyimagine

        Welcome... the Land of Dumbass, where lazy mindless trolls can endlessly repeat the 'stupid', the 'vapid' and the inane. Where only half-baked, half-witted and utterly moronic memes are born and self replicate to fill the vacuum vacated by common sense, intelligence and critical thinking. Where history is bunkum and truth unknown.

        All hail the Land of Dumbass.

    4. hexx


      is your website for trolling, no gtfo

  6. b-a-r-k-i-n-g-m-a-d

    F 'em in the A(5).

    F 'em in the A(5)

    Whether or not Samsung helped develop the iPhone - they did it for Apple as Apple's customer (forget all this 'partner' b'lox) - Apple pay Samsung - Apple are the 'customer' - you don't go copying your customers products and selling them yourself in direct competition.

    If that were the case you would happily have an external design studio for a new Ford car - designing it for Ford (and being paid by Ford) but then hawking the same design (or one very similar) to other manufacturers or making them themselves.

    If you ask me it's Samsubg being greedy here!

    1. WissG

      Supplier v Customer. Not always by the rules, especialy if you are Mhard

      Seem to remember the contractor for OS2 decided to copy the idea for their own OS and make a pigs ear of OS2 on the way (surprise), which was eventually cleaned of the contractors bad habit's (no doubt within contract tolerances). but too late to make regain the lost' kudos (OS2 Warp, IMHO was better than it's contractors OS and by a fairly large margin).

      So, not all contacted suppliers play by the 'rules'.

  7. jubtastic1

    There's more than just a CPU in a iPhone

    I suspect Samsung makes quite a bit more selling NAND flash to Apple than they do knocking out ARM chips.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Missing the point

    Were Apple using Samsung as a foundry or as an ASIC vendor?

    If the former then switching to TSMC should be relatively painless.

    If the later (which is probable given the amount of hiring for ARM experienced design engineers Apple is currently doing) then they are going to have to throw a lot of money and engineers at this.

    (Which they have in bucket loads.)

    1. Arctic fox

      Re "Missing the point"

      You likely have a point there. As far as "under the bonnet" goes Apple may well have been a touch more dependent on Samsung than they were willing to admit. They may have realised that they had in a certain sense "farmed out" a bit to much and are now in the process of bringing some of it back in house, which I guess would make sense from their point of view. However, as others have said I do not think that Samsung are going to loose any sleep over this. Indeed Nokia and Microsoft may be smiling - AMOLED screens anyone?

  9. Jemma

    besides the point that...

    ... I loathe all Apple and would condemn it and all apple-ites to the lowest pits of hell imaginable...

    The point still stands..

    There are a limited number of large chip fabs in the world, and each of them will have watched the way Apple has treated Samsung, and I suspect will either look very carefully at any deal with Apple or tell them to f*ck right off in short order. What are Apple going to do if they manage to either offend TSMC or do something as stupid as go after them the way they have Samsung?

    Its very like the agrochemicals business my father used to work in... if you had a reputation you had everything, you'd get first pick of the products, if something was short people would think "hmm Richard needs 500 litres of this, better keep it back". But screw things up once, or lie, or attack people the way Apple has and you were on the short road to the bankrupcy court (or a restructuring with a purple emblem...).

    Apple have two halo products right now, the iPhone and the iPad. While it is my personal firm belief that these two things are overpriced tat, that were at the leading edge of technology about 6 years ago... people are buying them. But what happens if all the fabs jack the prices up or turn their backs on apple and say get lost? Apple are forced back to their laptops/desktops which now are nothing more than wintel boxes running a different OS. Whether you like it or not, that is all they are, at twice the price of everyone elses to boot.

    Apple has no distinguishing features in this market - other than the dubious claim... we were here first *pout*. Playbook using QNX has rock solid security and business functionality, which makes it stand out and gives it a niche. Android is cheaper and just as insecure as iOS. So where does iPAD stand? Insecure, and expensive.. *lehmans mode:on*. Ironically, it might end up that Symbian, with its signed applications and built in security does a last minute lazarus... but thats assuming that an ex microsoft drone has a brain in there...

    The same with the iPhone,only its worse. Once it was a halo product, now its more like something you'd give to those angel things from Dr Who... its locked down, its lacking functions (and always has been), its a tarnished brand (antennagate etc), and cheaper devices can do most things better... hell, lets ride the metaphor till it falls apart... it could well be that the iPhone is Apple's Titanic when all is said and done. When Steve Jobs retires (or ascends) who is going to take his place? the whole company will be like headless chickens very probably... and its iceberg time. White Star Line survived its Titanic, for a while, but I doubt that Apple will be so lucky.

    Apple have placed all their eggs now in a single basket - iPad & iPhone - theyve made much more of an investment in these than I think anyone realizes, and pared everything else back to make way for the 'saviours of apple' - but like the Unternehmen Wacht am Rhein this could be a last gasp offensive, that leaves the company, in the fullness of time, critically weakened with nowhere to go but down.

    This lawsuit garbage and all the rest of it smacks of a fighter on the ropes - that has no plans other than to swing wildly at whatever shape rears its head, in the hope of connecting by nothing more than luck.

    1. Justin Clements

      So much..


      Don't even know where to start.

    2. amanfromearth

      Yes dear..

      now get back to the kitchen, there's a good girl.

  10. Mike Moyle

    Re: besides the point that...

    "... I loathe all Apple and would condemn it and all apple-ites to the lowest pits of hell imaginable..."

    You really COULD have left it t that and had substantially the same amount of useful information in your post.

    Frankly, the rest of it is full of plain foolishness and/or bile from paragraph 3 --

    "What are Apple going to do if they manage to either offend TSMC or do something as stupid as go after them the way they have Samsung?"

    ...You mean when they go after TSMC for making an identical-looking consumer product...? Not likely, since, from

    "Established in 1987, TSMC is the world's first dedicated semiconductor foundry.";

    ...All the way to paragraph 9 --

    "This lawsuit garbage and all the rest of it smacks of a fighter on the ropes - that has no plans other than to swing wildly at whatever shape rears its head, in the hope of connecting by nothing more than luck."

    ...Which, I presume, is your opinion of ANY company that sues a direct competitor for introducing a, visually, almost identical competing product (and I say this as an user whose Samsung Android phone looks, at a quick glance, VERY much like his iPod Touch) -- otherwise one might think that you... well... your post probably says it best : "(had) no plans other than to swing wildly at whatever shape rears its head, in the hope of connecting by nothing more than luck."

    Seriously, dude... You may want to consider going back on the Lithium.

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