Samsung Plans $4B Upgrade to Austin Mobile Chip Factory

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Samsung is prepping for a US$4 billion investment to upgrade its Austin, Texas, factory to increase output of processors, including those used in smartphones such as Apple’s iPhone. The upgrades should be complete in time for Samsung to ramp up production in the second half of 2013.

The upgrades at the Austin facility may be targeted at meeting Apple’s needs for iPhone and iPad chips, according to LIG Investment & Securities analyst Choi Do Yeon.

Austin Samsung factory to boost output with $4 billion upgradeAustin Samsung factory to boost output with $4 billion upgrade

“The market for mobile application-processors is getting big, and Samsung is having a hard time keeping up with demand,” Mr. Choi told Bloomberg. “They need extra capacity.”

Samsung’s factory upgrade comes even as it faces off in court against Apple over patent infringement and design copying claims. The two companies are currently preparing to hand their patent infringement cases over to a jury after court requested settlement negotiations failed.

Apple and Samsung also failed to scale back their infringement claims which would’ve made the jury’s job easier. Judge Lucy Koh had requested both sides work to trim down their complaints to reduce the complexity of the cases.

Apple and Samsung have been fighting in courtrooms around the world over mobile device patent infringement complaints for more than a year. Both claim the other company is using patents without proper licensing, and Apple has also accused Samsung of blatantly copying the iPad’s look and feel

Apple is claiming Samsung owes US$2.5 billion for patent infringement, and Samsung claims Apple owes 2.4 percent of all iPhone sales for using its patents without proper licensing.

While the companies can’t seem to see eye to eye on anything else, they did agree that the jury shouldn’t hear any details about how they both destroyed email evidence. With closing arguments coming today, the jury could start deliberations as early as this afternoon.

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