The battle between Apple and Samsung continues to rage on, and it’s gotten more heated than ever. Back in 2012 when the first big Samsung vs. Apple trial started, Apple won the case against Samsung and was awarded $1.05 Billion in damages, alleging that Samsung copied their patents without paying Apple for them. Just 10 days ago now Apple won yet another patent dispute suit, this time winning “only” $119.6 million. With more patent disputes seemingly on the horizon, one has to wonder how long this will go on for, and how long Samsung will continue to lose. What Samsung isn’t losing in, however, is marketshare growth and component supply. Samsung’s Galaxy Tab and Note series has grown in popularity considerably over the past 2 years, and is on track to eclipse Apple’s iPad in marketshare within the very near future. All this is showing that Samsung’s strategy of flooding the market with dozens of different tablet models in all shapes, sized and prices is working. Meanwhile Apple still only has 2 real tablets out there, the full size and the mini, and both are premium-priced products.
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What isn’t considered very often is that Apple isn’t a manufacturer. Much like Google they design something and then farm it out to a company overseas to produce, and more often than not that company has surprisingly been Samsung. In this past quarter, Q1 2014, Samsung has now overtaken all other manufacturers of iPad displays to become the largest producer of displays for Apple’s tablet lineup, shipping 5.2 million Retina displays in the quarter. That accounts for 62% of all iPad displays for the larger 9.7-inch iPad model. The other big manufacturer of displays for Apple is LG, who produced only 38% of the displays produced in Q1 2014 compared with 61% of them in Q4 2013. All this shows the raging war that’s going on in the display industry, from quality to price, and the interchangeable nature of these displays continues to help drive that price war. With iPad sales down 15.9% since Apple’s last earnings statement on April 23rd, one has to wonder how long Apple will continue to rule the tablet industry as it has for so many years.