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Apple reportedly among affected 7nm clients in TSMC virus incident
Source: DIGITIMES   Editor: Helan   Update Time :2018/8/6 17:13:16

The computer virus outbreak at Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) has raised concerns about its impact on the foundry house's shipments particularly its 7nm chip output during the third quarter, a traditionally peak season for the contract chipmaker's clients such as Apple.

TSMC fabricates chip solutions for Apple and other mobile device vendors, and has reportedly kicked off its shipments for the forthcoming iPhones and other new smartphone models. The virus infection that occurred on the evening of August 3 forced the contract chipmaker to suspend some of its fab tools in Taiwan.

TSMC's major 12-inch fabs - Fab 12 at the Hsinchu Science Park (HSP) and Fab 15 at the Central Taiwan Science Park (CTSP) - are among those impacted by the virus outbreak, according to industry sources. Some of the impacted fabs were shut down for as long as over 10 hours resulting in damage to several thousand wafers, the sources noted.

At Fab 15, TSMC is ramping up its 7nm chip output to fulfill orders from mainly Apple. AMD, Qualcomm, Nvidia, Xilinx and several ASIC developers are other 7nm chip customers of the foundry, the sources said.

TSMC previously said about 10% of its revenues would be generated from its most-advanced 7nm process technology in the third quarter of 2018, and the proportion would reach 20% in the fourth quarter, with an over 20% in all of 2018.

Any shipment delays caused by this virus incident - which occurred just about two months after Morris Chang had retired - could undermine the customer trust that it had long built up, the sources speculated.

TSMC said the incident is expected to impact 3% of its third-quarter revenues, and delayed shipments in the third quarter will be recovered in the fourth quarter.

The foundry house is likely to recognize a total of NT$2.7-3 billion (US$88.2-98 million) in losses from the incident, the sources estimated, adding that among the losses, about NT$1 billion will be the result of scrapped wafers.

TSMC said in its update on August 5 to the development of the incident that it expects full recovery of production on August 6.

It attributed the incident to "misoperation during the software installation process for a new tool" without elaborating further.

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