Another brick in the wall: Samsung no longer supplies batteries to Apple

by: Bogdan PetrovanNovember 24, 2012

samsung battery

Samsung, South Korea’s largest industrial conglomerate, is supplying many crucial components that go into Apple’s insanely popular devices, including displays, processors, and memory modules. If you’ve been following us over the past few weeks, you might know that the once rosy relationship between the two industry titans is slowly turning sour.

Apple is trying to give up its Samsung addiction, by looking for other suppliers for processors, displays, and other components. Now, news broke that Samsung will no longer sell batteries for tablets and laptops to Apple, and that the American company has switched to two Chinese manufacturers for future battery orders.

It’s not clear from the original news report if it was Samsung or Apple that initiated the break up. Given the contentious nature of the legal and commercial relationship between the two, either option it’s possible. All we know is that Samsung and Apple are drifting apart at increasing speed, and, in a year or so, their collaboration might be history.

  • Never mind, it’ll just mean more spare capacity for their own handsets. Apple can have the cheap imitation batteries from China lol

    • Chris

      I’ve been saying this since the Nexus S days. When the time comes that the Galaxy lineup is selling millions, it’s time to supply your own. Galaxy S3 has reached 30 million and counting as I’ve just purchased 2 GS3s for my parents. So as the Galaxy Note 2.

    • On a Clear Day

      Not to mention that by giving more business to China they are helping make stronger a country that without compunction imprisons and throws away the key on young men and women who have the audacity to suggest that perhaps China should consider democracy.

      But, given Apple’s own constricting and stifling approach to its own ecosystem as well as business practice reflect a kindred spirit with the Chinese, I am sure they will all be happy as peas in a pod.

    • cycad007

      Simon…to clarify, the only thing getting hurt here is Samsung’s bottom line. Apple is Samsung’s biggest client and Samsung already has the capacity to meet the demand for their headsets. Losing Apple simply means:

      1. Idle factory

      2. Lower margins. Samsung will need to find customers to replace Apple. To get these customers, they will have to undercut other battery makers. Do you really think other cell phone manufacturers want to give even more money to the Korean giant?

      As for Apple having “cheap imitation batteries”, this truly depends on who the battery manufacturer is. Contrary to your implied message, Samsung doesn’t have a technological lead when it comes to cell phone batteries.

      • Marvin Nakajima

        Impact will be large but probably not as large as you would expect. With yet another component not provided by the same company, there is less ‘leverage’ to demand discounts on other components. Thus a 100% loss of income is probably not realistic. As a result of lower purchase amount discounts on other components will probably also take a hit resulting in Apple paying more for some other components till they can completely wean themselves of Samsung. As for idle factories, it just may be that now Samsung will be freed to create even more devices where they were restricted before by resources sold off to Apple. Nature abhors a vacuum. I’m sure Samsung will be able to use or sell any freed up components/resources. They move frighteningly fast. Something Sony and Nokia used to do but current management appear is unable to do.

  • Josh

    Apple is only killing themselves by resorting to cheap Chinese junk.

    Every time Apple has moved away from Samsung, there have been quality issues with Apple’s products.

    • cycad007

      Josh…I’m sorry but you must know something I don’t.

      Exactly how did you conclude that Apple is getting “cheap Chinese junk” when neither of the two Chinese firms were identified in the article? Several Samsung batteries are in fact assembled in China!

      Quality issues effect *EVERY* manufacturer…not just Apple. Since you seem to be placing Samsung on a pedestal…let’s talk about their flagship device….the Galaxy S3! Did you know the device has had or still has issues with:
      1. Battery life
      2. Microphone
      3. Charging the battery
      4. Wi-fi connection?

      No…I’m not making this up. Here’s my source:

      As for Apple moving away from Samsung, they seem to have been particularly careful with the transition so far….witness the slow transition from Samsung to TSMC in their chip manufacturing process.

      Samsung doesn’t have any technological advantage when it comes to batteries. Apple switching from Samsung batteries to Chinese-made batteries should be a rather trivial change. If you disagree, then I’d kindly ask you to prove it.

      • I think it’s called factory defect, that’s why there’s warranty for each device. Those who assembled the phones are human been, not robot.

      • Steve

        1. It doesn’t matter if the Chinese manufacturers are identified. It’s a general fact that Chinese manufacturing is lower quality.

        Even if you counter with the fact that companies like Samsung or Apple use Chinese manufactured components, they are often built according to tight quality control measures dictated by these non-Chinese companies, which are much higher than Chinese standards.

        Then again, I don’t think the sky is going to fall like the OP is suggesting, since Apple will make sure the quality is raised before utilizing Chinese products.

        2. Quality issues do affect every device. That doesn’t mean every device is all of a sudden of the same quality. Your logic is like saying since every country has homeless people, you can say that the US is also a 3rd world country like China.

        The best devices will always have issues, which is why the link you posted referring to some Galaxy S3 issues is not some big revelation. Not only that, the article itself even mentions the listed issues were very rare and uncommon.

        The overall quality is what matters, not whether you can find specific issues.

        3. Apple has indeed been careful in their transition. But the OP is not wrong to say that Apple has faced problems with quality when not using Samsung technology. Then again, I agree with you that switching batteries will be a trivial change.

    • It will be 100% made in China, right?

  • dro_ID

    Samsung is on the right way. They sold 30 mil S3, so their production capacities are fully loaded. They should keep their technologies for themselves, and let Apple compte with their “technologies” like rectangles with rounded corners and sliding sheets.

  • Can’t believe all the people with what seems like personal vendettas against Apple. They’re phones. Chill out people. Both Apple and Samsung are businesses and will do what’s in the best interest for themselves and their shareholders, they have no obligation to cater to everyone`s gripes.

    • chuckles87

      Yes they do they have to cater to their customers before shareholders or they wont have a business.

  • chuckles87

    You can keep your ipad made in china ill stick with samsung made from parts made in America and save money doing it. Not to mention ill be getting better tech and quality.

  • No wonder…iPhone battery is not removable. Because it has samsung logo on it. Not funny really :D.