Oregon looking to secure Project Azalea, a possible Apple semiconductor foundry

Apple could be in talks with the US state of Oregon to build a semiconductor foundry in the state, according to US press reports.

Since December last year, Apple’s fiercest competitor, Samsung, has manufactured Apple’s ARM-based A5 processors in its factory in Austin, Texas. The Korean electronics giant also manufactured a number of other Apple components, including LCD displays and memory chips for its popular iPhone, iPod and iPad devices.

This has led Apple to examine switching its orders for memory chips, displays and processors away from Samsung, with Samsung Display recently cancelling a major LCD display contract with Apple. Apple had hoped that Taiwanese semiconductor firm Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) would be able to replace Samsung as a processor supplier.

However, as SmartCompany recently reported, TSMC were reportedly unable to fulfil Apple’s orders from its existing semiconductor foundries, leading to Samsung slugging the Cupertino-based consumer electronics giant with a 20% increase in the price of its processors.

In a Business Review report, it recently emerged that the state of New York was attempting to secure the construction of a mysterious semiconductor foundry around 3.2 million square feet in size (roughly 297,290 square metres) codenamed “Project Azalea”, prompting speculation that either TSMC or Apple were behind the bid.

According to local newspaper The Oregonian, the Pacific Northwest state of Oregon has also placed a bid for the foundry.

However, for its part, state development agency Business Oregon is remaining tight-lipped about the project and the parties behind it.

The news comes in the same week as a motion to ban several Samsung products as part of ongoing patent litigation between the two companies was knocked back by a California courtroom.


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