Apple may cut Samsung from its list of parts suppliers, dropping an arrangement that is worth an estimated $5 billion for Samsung.
“They have become more competitors and less partners and so I think Apple will definitely not be looking to Samsung as its go-to partner-of-choice for NAND flash,” Brian Marshall, a Gleacher & Co. analyst told The Globe and Mail. Apple could instead choose to get its NAND flash products from other companies, such as Hynix Semiconductor, Micron, and Toshiba.
NAND Flash memory is a component vital for Apple’s devices, ranging from the iPad to iPhone to Macbook laptops. Samsung has supplied these parts to Apple for some time now, but due to recent legal battles between the two, that partnership could end.
At the same time, if Apple were to drop Samsung they would need to look elsewhere for processors (possibly Intel) and would also need to find another supplier of LCD displays, as Samsung manufactures both for the iPad and iPhone.
Since Apple accused Samsung of releasing copycat devices the two companies have been locked in multiple legal battles, with Apple even pushing to get the import of Samsung devices blocked in the US.
This would be a major blow for Samsung if Apple were to show them the door, but with Apple seemingly headhunting nearly every smartphone manufacturer, maybe Samsung would be better to jump ship without a fight and focus on their own devices.