Trouble with TSMC's (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company) 28nm process technology could force Nvidia and Qualcomm to seek out other foundries. In fact, Nvidia reportedly has already started sampling its chips on Samsung's 28nm process technology, representing a significant shift in behavior and a potential huge loss for TSMC, which is currently the sole provider of chips for Nvidia.
DigiTimes claims it's hearing from "industry sources" that both Nvidia and Qualcomm are actively exploring their options as TSMC struggles to keep up with capacity demands. Yield problems with the 28nm manufacturing process are reportedly hamstringing TSMC's ability to supply enough working chips. Qualcomm, which has been in talks with United Microelectronics (UMC) and Globalfoundries to pick up the slack, needs more chips than ever before thanks to the rising popularity of smartphones and tablets.
Between Nvidia, Qualcomm, and others, TSMC has seen its orders for 28nm process nodes jump by five times in the first quarter of 2012 compared to the fourth quarter of 2011.