Samsung and Apple: It’s complicated

Nancy Marshall-Genzer Nov 18, 2014
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Samsung and Apple: It’s complicated

Nancy Marshall-Genzer Nov 18, 2014
HTML EMBED:
COPY

We’ve been seeing reports that Apple and Samsung have reached a deal for Samsung to supply most of the chips for Apple iPhones and iPads, starting in 2016.

There’s no confirmation from Apple, but there’s no denying that Samsung has been a major supplier for Apple, which could be surprising, considering they’re competitors. 

Apple and Samsung have fought in court over patents. But, like many a squabbling couple, they find they need each other.

“It’s a complicated relationship,” says Jon Erensen, research director in the semiconductor group at Gartner.   

Erensen says Samsung needs Apple because it’s a big player, ordering lots of chips. Apple needs Samsung because it can reliably spit out lots of chips for Apple products.

“They want to make sure they don’t create a bottleneck in their supply chain for a key component,” Erensen says.

But how can they be so intertwined, when they seem to hate each other? It’s simple. Samsung has compartmentalized its relationship with Apple.

“It’s different parts of Samsung,” says Michael Palma, the IDC research manager for consumer semiconductors. “Samsung is a huge corporation. The chip business is run separately.”

So, while the Samsung division that sells phones may hate Apple, its chip business found a way to Apple’s heart.

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