A mysterious and secretive project under the code-name Azalea has popped up on the East Coast, West Coast, and in Texas. Speculation has the project pinned as semiconductor manufacturing plants likely to produce the next-generation 450-mm diameter processor chips that we might see in products like Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone or iPad.
It’s believed that Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (NYSE:TSM), or TSMC, may be the company behind Azalea in a move to replace Samsung (SSNF) as Apple’s chip manufacturer, though it’s possible several companies are all involved in Azalea, as there are four locations believed to be working on the mysterious project. It’s even possible this is a joint project for the Global 450 Consortium, which includes IBM (NYSE:IBM), Intel (NASDAQ:INTC), Globalfoundries, Samsung, and TSMC.
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If TSMC is behind Azalea and moving to snatch up production for Apple chips, it could certainly mean a stock hit for Samsung, which currently produces Apple’s mobile device chips. A deal like that could also give TSMC a share boost. If Apple cuts its supply relationship with Samsung, it could also free the company to more aggressively challenge Samsung in the market and in courts.
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