It's no secret that Apple and Samsung's relationship has become more strained than ever over the last couple of years. The two companies use to be best friends. Samsung would supply parts for Apple and Apple would pay Samsung handsomely, but then, legal battles started. The Cupertino company started going after Samsung for every little patent known to man, mainly due to Steve Jobs' belief that Android was a stolen product. Once the lawsuits began, Apple started to shift away from using Samsung components in its devices. This obviously hurt both of the companies. Samsung was forced to make up for the huge stream of revenue coming from Apple, and Apple of course had to find a company to supply device components. It looks like, however, that Apple just couldn't function as well as it would have liked without Samsung.
According to a new report from the Korea IT Times, Apple has been forced to start buying LCD panels from Samsung, which really comes as a shock. It seemed like Apple was doing okay with its new partners, such as Sharp and TSMC, but something must have gone wrong.
The Korean TFT LCD component market appears to be set for huge growth in 2013 now that Apple has started having Samsung supply panels again. The sales of TFT panels from Korean display companies Soulbrain, Chemtronics, Global Display and Avatec have seen huge growth so far, and are expected to reach 643 billion KRW, a 34% increase year-over-year.
One of Apple's newest partners, Sharp, has been struggling mightily recently. Samsung has even recently bought a stake in the failing Japanese company.
One reason Apple may have switched back to Samsung for its display manufacturing is because of the company's great skill at producing TFT displays. LG, one of Apple's other partners, relies on outside sources to manufacture TFT panels, while Samsung is able to build them in-house and much quicker. Apple uses these TFT displays in its iPhone, iPad, and Retina Macbook Pro, and it seems as if no company can compete with Samsung.
So, is it safe to call Samsung the winner so far in the 2013 patent battles?
Source: Korea IT Times