EE|Times: Thanks to Apple, Samsung foundry sales to surge again

Foundry revenues for South Korea’s Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. are forecast to grow 54 percent in 2012 on the heels of 82 percent growth in 2011, according to a ranking of projected foundry sales by market research firm IC Insights Inc.

Samsung’s foundry sales are expected to grow to $3.38 billion in 2012, up from $2.19 billion in 2011, good enough for the top spot in foundry sales among integrated device manufacturers (IDMs) and the No. 4 position in foundry overall, according to IC Insights. If the forecast is on target, Samsung will have nearly tripled its foundry sales since logging $1.21 billion worth in 2010, according to the firm.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) is expected to retain the overall No. 1 position in foundry sales, with revenue projected to rise 15 percent to about $16.72 billion, according to IC Insights (Scottsdale, Ariz.). TSMC’s projected sales total is more than four times that of Globalfoundries Inc., which is expected to surpass United Microelectronics Corp. (UMC) to become the second-leading foundry this year, IC Insights said.

Samsung’s projected sales growth in 2012 would make it the fastest growing among the top 12 foundries for a second consecutive year, IC Insights said. The rapid growth is attributed primarily the success of Apple Inc., which is expected to account for about 85 percent of Samsung’s foundry sales in 2012, IC Insights said. Samsung makes the A4 and A5 processors found in Apple’s iPhones and iPads on a foundry basis.

Apple’s continued dependence on Samsung as a foundry supplier underscores the unusual relationship between the two firms. The two are currently embroiled in a patent litigation trial over allegations that Samsung—a longtime Apple supplier of both logic and memory chips—copied elements of Apple’s iPhone for use in its own smartphones.


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