Apple and Samsung have a relationship of ambivalence. Both of these companies are locked in fierce court room battles as they sue and counter sue each other in a number of courts around the world. One court found Samsung guilty of infringing upon Apple’s patents and ordered it to pay Apple one billion dollars in damages. Whereas another court found Samsung not guilty of infringement and ordered Apple to post an apology to Samsung on its website.
The legal drama notwithstanding, Samsung has always been one of the major component manufacturers for Apple. It holds the distinction of being Apple’s largest component supplier. In recent months we have seen that Apple is beginning to tone down its reliance on components from Samsung. In a new move, Apple has now switched the battery manufacturer for its iPad and Macbook Air. The batteries for these products was previously manufactured by Samsung.
According to reports the first move was made by Samsung which terminated its battery manufacturing agreement with Apple, prompting it to switch to other battery manufacturers for iPad and Macbook Air. It goes without saying that the iPad and Macbook Air are Apple’s most selling devices and surely the company can not afford a shortfall of components for these products. Apple is now sourcing batteries from these devices from Amperex Technology Limited and Tianjin Lishen Battery both of which are Chinese companies.
Recent reports have also indicated that Samsung has inflated processor prices for Apple and yet Apple continues to do business with it despite its obvious reluctance. Apple CEO Tim Cook stated in a recent earnings call that Samsung is one of the major partners of Apple and that they see their relationship with Samsung going forward in the future as well. However will Samsung pulling the plug on batteries and charging higher than it used to for processors, it looks like the Koreans are not as flexible with Apple as before.
Surely Apple is looking for other manufacturers as well because it can not afford a shortfall in the supply of components. Apple products are assembled in China at Foxconn factory after components have been received from a number of South East Asian companies. Samsung SDI used to provide batteries for the aforementioned Apple products but now it won’t. Will that in some way translate to production delays for Apple? Moreover, will there ever come a time when Apple will not need to rely on Samsung for any of its components? Looks like that day is not that far off.