Project Azalea – Apple replacing Samsung for TSMC US-based chip factory?

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According to The EETimes, the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) is contemplating on building a new factory in either New York or Oregon with the project being called “Azalea.” Another report out of The Oregonian says that officials in New York and Oregon may be competing to attract a large manufacturing company that goes by another code name — you guessed it, Azalea. The factory would supposedly be dedicated to building processors for Apple’s mobile devices.

Business Oregon — the state’s economic development agency — confirms that it’s recruiting a company that goes by the codename “Azalea.” The department declined to discuss details of the effort, citing a nondisclosure agreement with the unnamed company.

However, officials in New York have been actively pursuing what’s known there as “Project Azalea.” Documents obtained by The Business Review, an Albany, N.Y., weekly, describe that project as a 3.2-million-square-foot semiconductor factory that would employ at least 1,000 people.

The cost of building and equipping a new semiconductor factory — a fab, in the chip industry’s parlance — runs in the billions of dollars. That’s attracted great interest to the chatter around Azalea, which at this point is largely speculative.

Within the chip industry, the theory is that the fab would be a contract facility to build microprocessors for Apple’s mobile devices, the iPhone and iPad.

Apple is currently partnered with Samsung, who builds all their custom A-series processors that are used in both the iPhone and iPad. But as Apple tries to distance themselves from Samsung due to their on-going litigation, as well move more manufacturing jobs to the US, the details in a move like this could very well be true. But like with any other rumor like this, only time will tell.

[via MacRumors, The Oregonian, The EETimes]

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