Samsung to Terminate LCD Display Supply Deal with Apple
The acrimonious rivalry between Apple and Samsung in the smartphone and tablet space has seemingly spilled over into their mutually lucrative component supply relationship. We earlier learned that Cupertino chose not to use memory chips from the South Korean firm in its initial batch of iPhone 5 units, and this time, Samsung could be aiming to strike back.
The Korea Times cites an unnamed company official as saying that Samsung will no longer ship LCD panels to Apple starting next year.
This follows a scaling back of shipments this year. Supposedly, the South Korean electronics giant aims to make up for the loss of Apple as a customer by expanding use of its display components in its own devices as well as selling panels to Amazon, which supposedly uses Samsung LCDs in its Kindle Fire HD.
Apple has been seeking to diversify its suppliers in recent months. This may have been driven by both concerns over the ability of its partners to supply sufficient amounts of components to prevent slowdowns in the production line as well as a fear that its ongoing legal battles could jeopardize its supplier relationships.
Samsung’s LCD business is a main case in point: it shipped 15 million panels to Apple in the first half of the year, edging out LG Display’s 12.5 million and absolutely dwarfing Sharp’s 2.8 million. However, this figure has dropped considerably to 3 million in the third quarter and could even hit as low as 1.5 million in the fourth quarter.
The next move could be Apple’s, since it may move away its chip manufacturing from Samsung to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. This shift may not take place in the current generation 32nm chips since TSMC doesn’t fabricate chips on that manufacturing process, but the next generation on a 28nm could be the first TSMC-made Apple chips.