Computer virus at A-series chipmaker TSMC could delay chip shipments for new iPhones

Analysts believe that the computer virus which shut down several factories at TSMC – the sole supplier of Apple’s A-series chips – could delay shipments of Apple’s new iPhones.

TSMC had previously said that it expected the production line shutdowns to impact Q3 revenues by 3%, suggesting a small but still significant impact on its capacity …

However, the chipmaker said that it expected to have everything back online at some point today, and Reuters reports analysts suggesting that the impact on A-series chip production will be ‘limited.’

Mark Li, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein, said in a report on Sunday technology giant Apple was one of the impacted customers but a swift recovery in the fourth quarter should keep the impact minimal […]

KGI Securities said in a report on Monday that while some of TSMC’s 12-inch wafer shipments will be delayed, the impact to the upcoming iPhone launch is limited because “the upstream supply chain usually prepares for these incidents and manufactures surplus chipsets during the initial ramp-up stage”.

The incident does, however, show the vulnerability of iPhone production where sole suppliers are used. Apple generally likes to have multiple suppliers of components in part to guard against this kind of event, and partly to strengthen its negotiating position. However, Samsung’s chip fabrication capabilities have lagged significantly behind those of TSMC, which has consistently been winning the race for ever-smaller processes.

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