Apple May Start Cutting Off Samsung from DRAM, Flash Supply Chain

Cupertino taps Toshiba and Elpida Memory for continued supply

By on September 22nd, 2011 15:41 GMT

Chinese tech industry sources are saying that Apple is slowly reducing its dependency on Samsung for key hardware parts, as tension between the two keeps building up, amid their ongoing patent lawsuits.

The sources in question reportedly learned that Apple has recently increased its DRAM and NAND Flash orders beyond Samsung, by tapping Toshiba and Elpida Memory for future supplies.

Digitimes’ sources do not imply that Apple is moving away from Samsung, but rather that the iPhone maker is simply making sure it has ‘spare’ part suppliers should things take a turn for the worse in court.

Samsung commands the global DRAM market with more than 40% share. The Korean company is also the largest NAND Flash supplier with over 30% market-share.

Apple has reportedly sourced NAND Flash parts from Toshiba, and RAM from Elpida, to be used in its mobile devices.

The sources specifically pointed out that Apple’s decision to contract new memory suppliers is directly tied to the ongoing litigation between them and the Korean electronics maker.

Just this week, Samsung revealed in a statement that it plans to sue Apple over patented technologies that are presumably used in the iPhone 5 without any licensing agreement.

Apple has not even hinted at the existence of such a phone, though it is almost certainly launching it next month.

The news only adds to previous claims that Apple had tapped Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company to continue the manufacturing of its A-series processors used in iPhones, iPads, and iPod touch players.

According to the latest intel from China, TSMC has already started trial production of the next-generation A6 silicon.

And even earlier than that, Dan Heyler, a semiconductor analyst with Merrill Lynch in Taipei, had told the China-based Commercial Times that TSMC was likely the primary candidate to be hired for the production of the "A6" processors.

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