Apple Cuts Samsung Out of New Chip Designs

Apple didn't rely on Samsung to help design its A6 processor, distancing itself even more from the electronics and chip maker. Instead, Samsung's involvement was only as a manufacturer, and soon the company may miss out on that business deal, too.

Samsung: No Apple chips for you!"Samsung's agreement with Apple is limited to manufacturing the A6 processors," a senior Samsung executive told The Korea Times. "Apple did all the design and we are just producing the chips on a foundry basis."

The company played a role in helping design previous A-series chips for Apple -- the processors it uses in the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. It seems now, however, that Apple no longer wants Samsung involved in its custom chip design process.

The widening gap between the two companies doesn't come as a big surprise. Both have been fighting in court over mobile device patent infringement claims for some time with Apple landing a major victory recently in the United States.

In the U.S. trial, a jury ruled that Samsung's Android-based mobile devices infringe on several Apple-owned patents, while Apple's iOS device lineup doesn't infringe on Samsung's patents. That case could lead to a U.S. sales ban on several Samsung devices and a bill for over US$1 billion in damages for the electronics maker.

Apple recently gave Samsung yet another slap in the face when it hired away chip designer Jim Mergard from the company. Mr. Mergard is an expert in system on chip processor designs.

It looks like Apple is working to cut Samsung out of even more of its custom processor business by moving to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) for chip manufacturing. Apple has apparently been approving the TSMC's 20nm manufacturing process, and is working to phase the company in as the sole A-series processor maker over the next couple years, and cutting Samsung out of the game.

Losing that business could cost Samsung billions of dollars in lost revenue since Apple is one of the company's largest customers. With the clear message Apple is sending, it looks like it's time for Samsung to start hunting for new big-dollar clients.