Apple reportedly reducing memory chip orders from Samsung. Is this the end of the Apple-Samsung supply relationship?

September 7, 2012
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In the aftermath of Apple’s big patent win against Samsung, industry observers have wondered whether it would affect the iPhone maker’s relationship with the South Korean company in terms of its supply contracts for components. In fact, our own Mike Andrici posited that Apple and Samsung are not about to divorce anytime soon, due to the mutually beneficial nature of the two companies’ supplier-client relationship.

But recent rumors indicate that Apple may already be starting to look elsewhere. A source “with direct knowledge of the matter” cited by Reuters and the Korea Economic Daily says that Apple is cutting back its orders of memory chips from Samsung as it diversifies its supply sources.

According to the report, Apple has dropped  Samsung from its list of suppliers for the upcoming iPhone (to be announced this September 12), but instead listed Toshiba, Elpida Memory and SK Hynix for its DRAM and NAND memory chip requirements.

The source, however, denied that the move is directly a result of Apple’s legal battles with Samsung. In fact, Apple had already been expanding its supply sources, particularly after component difficulties resulted in shortages after the new iPad launched.

Samsung has declined to comment and Apple had been unavailable as of Press time, says Reuters.

Is Apple’s supply relationship with Samsung starting to sour due to the two firms’ patent disputes? Or is this just a strategic business decision made by Apple in order to hedge its portfolio of suppliers and protect its interests?

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