Hard to break up: Samsung resumes providing LCDs to Apple

May 28, 2013
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Apple

You’ve probably forgotten this already, but there once was a time when Samsung and Apple were best of friends, like two peas in a pod. However, technology is a fast moving market and in a post-2012 world, it would be difficult to get Samsung and Apple into the same room without one taking a bite out of the other (no pun intended).

After countless lawsuits, it was obvious that Samsung could not play a crucial role in Apple’s supply chain, like it once had, but moving away from Samsung hasn’t been easy for the Cupertino company. Apple has poured millions of dollars into rival manufacturers like Sharp and TSMC, but even that hasn’t proven to be successful, as Apple was forced to resume buying LCD panels from Samsung.

The Korean TFT LCD component market looks to be turning around this year, spurred by Apple’s decision to return to Samsung as its display manufacturer. The TFT sales of Korean display companies Soulbrain, Chemtronics, Global Display and Avatec have improved immensely, and are expected to reach 643 billion KRW, which is a 34% increase, year on year.

It seems that the main reason that Apple has returned to Samsung is its adept manufacturing of TFT displays. Unlike LG, who relies on outsiders to build its TFT displays, Samsung is able to build the panels in-house.

Apple’s attempts to leverage other manufacturers like Sharp, seem to have failed especially since Samsung recently bought a stake in the flailing Japanese company. Apple uses TFT displays in its iPhone and iPad, and more recently in the Retina Macbook Pro, and although Apple has tried to replace Samsung’s displays with panels made by LG, Samsung’s power in the components business has once again prevailed.

Do you think Apple should still be suing Samsung when it plays a vital role in the manufacturing of Apple’s products?

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