A recent Bloomberg report cited unnamed sources as saying that Apple and Qualcomm had been rebuffed in separate attempts to invest cash in Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) in a bid to secure exclusive access to smartphone chips. Digitimes Research analyst Nobunaga Chai has commented saying that he sees no good reason why TSMC should accept the investment.
TSMC will have no problem dedicating some production lines or even specific fabs to just one customer looking to secure enough capacity for their high-volume products, Chai noted. However, having some particular clients invest in TSMC could satisfy the foundry's short-term benefits, but will not be in line with its long-term sustainable interests, Chai said.
If TSMC allows one particular client to pour cash into its operations, such strategic investment will put trade secrets at risk, for example, Chai indicated. TSMC, which serves customers in sections ranging from consumer mobile devices to industry and military grade products, should put more focus on its achievements over 30 years, not just the past three years, Chai said. Whether Apple can still lead the market in 30 years is really unpredictable, Chai added.
During a Q&A session at TSMC's most-recent investors meeting, company chairman and CEO Morris Chang told investors that it makes complete sense to dedicate a whole fab, or two whole fabs, to just one customer.
According to the Bloomberg report, Apple and Qualcomm hoped to separately invest more than US$1 billion in TSMC to set aside production dedicated to making chips exclusively for them.