Report: Samsung foundry split "likely"

December 27, 2016 // By Peter Clarke
Samsung Electronics is considering splitting its System LSI semiconductor business division into fabless and foundry parts with the possibility of a spin off, according to a Business Korea report.

Samsung has been considering the re-organization since it lost out on business selling integrated circuits to Apple to its rival Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd., the report said without providing sources. One issue could be concerns over a conflict of interest for Apple buying from a rival smartphone maker. TSMC, which is an independent foundry and only manufactures chips, raises no such concerns.

Samsung is now considering separating the design and manufacturing sectors in the System LSI business unit and creating fabless and foundry business divisions, the report said. Such decisions have been faced in the past by vertically integrated companies and it is largely a matter of the degree to which divisions must be separated operationally to satisfy customer concerns. It is not likely that Samsung will sell off foundry manufacturing.

Samsung has achieved success with its own FinFET manufacturing processes and has signed a large order at 10nm with Qualcomm.

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