Samsung chip price hike would affect Apple's margins by 1-2% points

Posted:
in AAPL Investors edited January 2014
If Samsung does in fact increase the price of building mobile processors for Apple, the change is expected to reduce the company's overall margins by as much as 2 percentage points.

Gene Munster of Piper Jaffray noted on Wednesday that the processors built by Samsung at its chip fabrication plant in Austin, Tex., are the core component of Apple's iPhone and iPad. The chips tend to represent between 6 and 9 percent of the total component cost of a given iOS device.

A report surfaced this week that claimed Samsung has increased the price of its mobile processors for Apple as the two rival companies are driven further apart.

Munster said a 20 percent increase in chip prices would result in a hit to Apple's margins between 1 and 2 percentage points. He also said that he would not be surprised if the price increase turns out to be accurate, "given the legal tension" between the two companies.

But he also buys in to rumors that Apple plans to move its chip production away from Samsung, and will have assembly of its custom processors like the A6 found in the iPhone 5 handed to another company, such as Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co.

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"We believe that if Apple were to move to another vendor in the next year or two, they may be abler o negotiate better chip prices, which would roll back the impact from the Samsung price increase," he said.

But in the meantime, Munster said it appears Apple has no choice but to continue its partnership with Samsung, even if the Korean electronics maker did put a massive price hike in place.

Piper Jaffray has projected that while Apple's margins will dip during the December quarter in the face of a number of major product transitions, margins will quickly improve in the company's fiscal year 2013. Munster has called for Apple to earn gross margins of 41.5 percent for calendar years 2013 and 2014.

"It does not appear that new product launches for iPhone 5 and iPad mini carry significantly different margins than prior launch margins for the same product lines," he said.

Margins have been a major concern among investors in recent weeks, as Apple's stock has taken a major hit. But most analysts have stood by Apple. Chris Whitmore of Deutsche Bank said last month that concern over Apple's margins has been "overblown," and that the reduction is "nearly entirely cyclical and not structural."
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 36


    Come on TSCM step up and take the business from away Samsung already.


     


    Time will tell.

  • Reply 2 of 36
    haarhaar Posts: 563member
    oh noes.... we'll only make 98-99 Billion dollars, instead of 100 Billion Dollars!
    /Sarcasm
  • Reply 3 of 36
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 4,658member


    As I said before, if the new A6 chip incorporates other functions from other chips which were removed from going from the A5 this is mute point. Also was it a 20% increase above the A5 or was it a 20% increase about what Apple originally baked in to their product cost estimated for the A6 products. Someone throwing out a 20% increase number with no reference point is totally meaning less. This is just another attempt by the markets to manipulate the stock value. Anyone who short the stock over the last month made more money in that time period that they made from the beginning of the year. Stock fall faster than they raise and Apples raise was slowing so what not create bad press, like they are loosing market share and it is costing them more.

  • Reply 4 of 36
    They are barely able to keep up with the current demand. Qualcomm recently contracted Samsung b/c of the supply shortage at TSMC.
  • Reply 5 of 36
    gazoobeegazoobee Posts: 3,754member


    Just to be picky the title is illegible.  


     


    The term "1-2% points" is complete nonsense and shouldn't be used at all.  

  • Reply 6 of 36

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by tooltalk View Post



    They are barely able to keep up with the current demand. Qualcomm recently contracted Samsung b/c the supply shortage at TSMC.


    And this is why i believe that Apple has a difficult decision in front of them.


     


    a) keep selling at current rates and higher with Samsung.


    b) Sell less devices to get way from samsung (right know no one can completely take their place).


    c) invest 10s of billions in one or 2 manufactures to produce the same/higher amounts without samsung. (TSMC, sharp, Lg, sony, more foxconn, etc)


     


    This ( c) )could hurt samsung a lot, because if companies like sony or LG have 100% of Apple's business AND huge investments, samsung will suffer in every single "branch" from more competition, losing at least a few sales, besides Apple's total business. Also, since they betrayed Apple, their most important client, other companies would try (eventually) to find other suppliers. If TSMC, sharp, sony, LG and foxconn up their games... well... Samsung is in trouble (they won't disappear no matter what, but they will suffer).


     


    HOWEVER,


     


    Apple has a risky move ahead of them, one that involves 10s of billion dollars.


    I can't wait :)

  • Reply 7 of 36


    I'm surprised there isn't more competition in mobile chip fabs. Is Samsung the only semiconductor firm that can ship in the quantities Apple needs? Is TSMC so completely out of the picture, that they're not even a contender for this kind of job?

  • Reply 8 of 36
    nhtnht Posts: 4,495member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post


    I'm surprised there isn't more competition in mobile chip fabs. Is Samsung the only semiconductor firm that can ship in the quantities Apple needs? Is TSMC so completely out of the picture, that they're not even a contender for this kind of job?



     


    Unless qualcomm beats them to it I expect Apple to buy a 10%+ stake in UMC to lock in 20nm fab capacity.

  • Reply 9 of 36


    Its a business decision.. and Apple is a business.  They didnt make it this far by not knowing how to put deals together that work.  If current CEO Tim Cook really is the supply chain genius many suspect him to be, then they have right person making the decisions of where to go from here.  In fact I dont know of anyone better qualified that Tim to make those decisions.  Maybe Steve saw all this coming and is why he wanted Tim leading the company.. instead of someone else who specializes in software, hardware or design.


     


    Either way the only reason this is news, is because of the bitter relationship between Apple & Samsung.  Prices go up all time.  And theres absolutely nothing to suggest here that even if Apple & Samsung were the best of friends.. that prices still wouldnt go up.  Both companies have needs, both companies have to make tough financial decisions.  In the end, a middle ground is found and these deals always gets done.


     


    My guestimate as to what while happen.  Apple will sign short contracts to pay the increased priced asked by Samsung, as they have no choice to keep up with their own customer demand.  In the meantime Apple will continue to look for other manufacters who can meet their production goals & budgets.  And continue investing into chipmakers until they can finally develop another strong relationship with a partner who has their best interests in mind.

  • Reply 10 of 36
    galbigalbi Posts: 968member


    As expected, Apple had no choice but to give in.

  • Reply 11 of 36
    galbigalbi Posts: 968member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by pedromartins View Post


    And this is why i believe that Apple has a difficult decision in front of them.


     


    a) keep selling at current rates and higher with Samsung.


    b) Sell less devices to get way from samsung (right know no one can completely take their place).


    c) invest 10s of billions in one or 2 manufactures to produce the same/higher amounts without samsung. (TSMC, sharp, Lg, sony, more foxconn, etc)


     


    This ( c) )could hurt samsung a lot, because if companies like sony or LG have 100% of Apple's business AND huge investments, samsung will suffer in every single "branch" from more competition, losing at least a few sales, besides Apple's total business. Also, since they betrayed Apple, their most important client, other companies would try (eventually) to find other suppliers. If TSMC, sharp, sony, LG and foxconn up their games... well... Samsung is in trouble (they won't disappear no matter what, but they will suffer).


     


    HOWEVER,


     


    Apple has a risky move ahead of them, one that involves 10s of billion dollars.


    I can't wait :)





    Wrong.


     


    Apple's move to shift suppliers isnt good for the long haul from the suppliers point of view. Apple squeezes its supplier and demands lower prices constantly. No one is going to continue to work with a customer who constantly demands lower prices that would squeeze the margins of the supplier.


     


    TSMC is rumored to allocate most of its capacity to Apple. The other clients that are displaced will most likely go to Samsung as their capacity is open. Samsung is currently making Qualcomm's chips, which serves as an example for others to follow.


     


    Also, Samsung is a vertically intergrated company. components. Their semiconductor department only has to shift gears to produce more Exynos processors for its mobile division with the freed up capacity. A simple reflash of software in the machines is all that is needed to go from the A6 to the Exynos (both are ARM cores). Their plant utilization rate will always be at 100%.


     


     


    Apple, overall, has more opportunity costs than Samsung. It not only has to pay in its own suppliers to beef up its capacity, but it is losing time ( which is more valuable than money). Every day that goes by that the your supplier isnt producing components for your products is a sales that is lost to your competitor. Retooling costs, subsidizing their own suppliers, increased risk of errors or problems from first generation production process (almost always the case) from new component manufacturer, etc. ... these things will bite Apple in the back sooner rather than later and eat into the earnings on the next financial statement.

  • Reply 12 of 36

    Also, since they betrayed Apple, their most important client, other companies would try (eventually) to find other suppliers. If TSMC, sharp, sony, LG and foxconn up their games... well... Samsung is in trouble (they won't disappear no matter what, but they will suffer).

    HOW do you make this conclusion? "IF Apple finds another supplier other than Samsung....OTHER companies WOULD try (eventually) to find other suppliers" <my capitalization>

    THAT is one hell of leap...and I call total BS on it.
  • Reply 13 of 36


    Originally Posted by Galbi View Post

    As expected, Apple had no choice but to give in.


     


    What's your point?

  • Reply 14 of 36
    galbigalbi Posts: 968member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


     


    What's your point?





    Just stating the facts. Dont take it personally.

  • Reply 15 of 36

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by lamewing View Post





    HOW do you make this conclusion? "IF Apple finds another supplier other than Samsung....OTHER companies WOULD try (eventually) to find other suppliers"

    THAT is one hell of leap...and I call total BS on it.


    If you invest a lot in me, if you trust me, and i betray you, what will the others do? invest in me too without at least thinking twice?


     


    Everyone knows that if they use Samsung and if their products accomplish success, Samsung will stab them, as they always did in every single segment they are in. they are a copy machine and they bring 0 innovation/risk/something new and fresh (at consumer level) to the table. That's Samsung for you, except the mafia/criminals part.

  • Reply 16 of 36
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member


    I'm still am not buying the story that Samsung raised the price in retaliation for the lawsuit. The Dollar has fallen over 12% in relationship to the WON in the past 6 months. If the new chip contract is a 20% increase then it only reflects Samsung's expectation that the Dollar will fall even more within the duration of the contract. This is happening in many other industries as the Dollar is considered weak worldwide.

  • Reply 17 of 36
    hmmhmm Posts: 3,405member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Maestro64 View Post


    As I said before, if the new A6 chip incorporates other functions from other chips which were removed from going from the A5 this is mute point. Also was it a 20% increase above the A5 or was it a 20% increase about what Apple originally baked in to their product cost estimated for the A6 products. Someone throwing out a 20% increase number with no reference point is totally meaning less. This is just another attempt by the markets to manipulate the stock value. Anyone who short the stock over the last month made more money in that time period that they made from the beginning of the year. Stock fall faster than they raise and Apples raise was slowing so what not create bad press, like they are loosing market share and it is costing them more.



    Your point about missing a frame of reference is better than what I was about to mention. I was going to say it could be a contract detail in which certain conditions were no longer met causing a loss of certain discounts related to volume or whatever else. It's also unsubstantiated. Someone just went through and ran theoretical numbers suggesting that if this rumor is true, this would be the likely offset.


    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post


    I'm surprised there isn't more competition in mobile chip fabs. Is Samsung the only semiconductor firm that can ship in the quantities Apple needs? Is TSMC so completely out of the picture, that they're not even a contender for this kind of job?



    Samsung is consistently listed as one of the top semconductor firms. Here is a prior article on TSMC. It suggests they don't want to sign exclusivity deals that have been offered. it's an okay read if you missed it before. I remembered the rumors, just not all of the details.


     


    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-08-29/apple-qualcomm-spurned-in-bids-for-exclusive-tsmc-chip-supply.html


     


     


    Quote:


    As a supplier to Qualcomm, Broadcom Corp. (BRCM), Nvidia Corp. (NVDA) and other companies that no longer operate their own factories, TSMC wants to keep the flexibility to switch its production between customers and products. TSMC Chairman Morris Chang told investors last month that he was willing to devote one or even two factories to a single customer.


    “Currently we believe we still can fund it,” Chief Financial Officer Lora Ho said in an interview on July 19.


    TSMC wants to retain control of its plants, doesn’t want to sell part of itself and doesn’t need cash for investments, Ho said in the interview.


     



  • Reply 18 of 36


    Tim Cook needs to hire Tim Cook to keep these production problems in check.

  • Reply 19 of 36

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Galbi View Post




    Wrong.


     


    Apple's move to shift suppliers isnt good for the long haul from the suppliers point of view. Apple squeezes its supplier and demands lower prices constantly. No one is going to continue to work with a customer who constantly demands lower prices that would squeeze the margins of the supplier.


     


    TSMC is rumored to allocate most of its capacity to Apple. The other clients that are displaced will most likely go to Samsung as their capacity is open. Samsung is currently making Qualcomm's chips, which serves as an example for others to follow.


     


    Also, Samsung is a vertically intergrated company. components. Their semiconductor department only has to shift gears to produce more Exynos processors for its mobile division with the freed up capacity. A simple reflash of software in the machines is all that is needed to go from the A6 to the Exynos (both are ARM cores). Their plant utilization rate will always be at 100%.


     


     


    Apple, overall, has more opportunity costs than Samsung. It not only has to pay in its own suppliers to beef up its capacity, but it is losing time ( which is more valuable than money). Every day that goes by that the your supplier isnt producing components for your products is a sales that is lost to your competitor. Retooling costs, subsidizing their own suppliers, increased risk of errors or problems from first generation production process (almost always the case) from new component manufacturer, etc. ... these things will bite Apple in the back sooner rather than later and eat into the earnings on the next financial statement.



     


    You stated a few facts and I cannot say anything about them because they are, well.. true.


     


    But on the other side,


     


    Foxconn is better than ever, TSMC is only going up, Apple is saving Sharp, Apple is slowly bringing LG up...


     


    So,


     


    working for Apple is very hard, but they can profit from it... In fact, entire corporations can be saved by it. It's in Apple's best interest that all these corporations are healthy, so they can compete between them and squeeze margins, to make up in volume. That's what is happening.


     


    Any company that has a large amount of Apple's business will only go up... Apple even pays for some plants.


    If Apple wants Samsung out of their business, they can't run from huge investments, but they can profit a lot in the long run, if done right.


     


    They successfully terminated Samsung at the chip design, so if someone has the right machinery, Apple's a6 (Apple's chip design is so ahead of the rest... even samsung is blown away by it, even with the a-15 based exynos 5.) can be manufactured anywhere. LG displays for apple devices are already at least on par with what samsung has to offer and they can keep up with demand, more suppliers for RAM and memory have been found, Sharp has the IGZO tech... It's just a question of time.


     


    I know you are worried because you love Apple and that's why you are here, but don't be! Apple will make billions and you (and me) will die first than them, and people with an IQ above 100 will keep buying their products and thinking of sh*t when looking at samsung's devices :)

  • Reply 20 of 36
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Galbi View Post


    A simple reflash of software in the machines is all that is needed to go from the A6 to the Exynos (both are ARM cores). 



    What? ARM cores don't come in a box. Apple licenses the technology but the chip architecture is uniquely theirs and it is patented. Samsung can't use it.

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