Samsung, the world’s second-largest handset vendor, has confirmed it is using chipsets from Infineon in its handsets in a bid to reduce its reliance on Qualcomm, previously its sole silicon supplier. The company said in an interview with Reuters that the decision was designed to “raise cost competitiveness” amongst its chipset suppliers. Separate newspaper reports suggested the Infineon deal would give Samsung leverage in price negotiations with Qualcomm. “Infineon’s chipsets are more than 20 percent cheaper than Qualcomm’s, but their quality does not lag behind Qualcomm’s at all,” a senior Samsung official told South Korea’s Chosun Ilbo (Korean Daily News). The newspaper adds that Samsung developed a mobile handset based on Infineon’s chipsets in April and began shipping it to Europe earlier this month.
Meanwhile Germany’s Infineon said yesterday its CEO, Wolfgang Ziebart, is to resign effective June 1 and will be replaced by Peter Bauer. The news follows media reports over the weekend that investment company Kohlberg Kravis Robets & Co (KKR) is in advanced talks with Infineon that could make KKR the biggest investor in the company. Infineon has declined to comment on the report that said KRR could take a stake of between 40-50 percent via an issue of new Infineon shares and bring Dutch chipmaker NXP, majority owned by a private equity consortium including KKR, together with Infineon.