Last week an infographic made by The Economist was floating around on the internet that we didn’t cover because … hey, there’s only so many inforgraphics you can shove in people’s faces before they get bored, right? Anyway, one of the key pieces of data in said graphic was that of the $178 worth of components that go into making an iPhone 4, $45.68 is what Apple pays to Samsung; that’s a hair over 25%. Now unless you’ve been sleeping under a rock, you’re aware of the court battles Samsung and Apple have been waged in over patents, trademark violations, and who knows what else. Just this week we reported that Apple has plans to shift production of their next generation A6 processor to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) just because they’d rather not do business with Samsung. Now there’s news that Apple is looking to invest roughly $1 billion in Sharp so that they can tool up their factories to be able to supply them a steady stream of LCD panels that will find their way inside future iPhones and iPads, panels that were once originally made by Samsung. There’s also another investment being talked about in Toshiba, who makes LCD panels and memory chips, but it hasn’t been established how much money is expected to change hands.
This is frankly getting a little ridiculous. We have a sneaking suspicison that Apple doesn’t really care that Samsung is competing with them in the mobile space, they’re just using these lawsuits as bargaining chips to get cheaper components. Samsung should just grow a pair and tell Apple that they refuse to do business with them, take the near term hit, and then we can all sit back in our chairs and read about Apple’s production issues due to supply constraints.
That’s likely not going to happen, but it would be funny if it did.