Samsung is taking a 3% stake in Japanese company Sharp, a major Apple component supplier. Sharp will use Samsung’s $110 million investment to show bank lenders that their LCD business continues to be viable. Interestingly, Sharp is not only a long-time partner of Apple, but also a long-time rival of Samsung. The two companies have historically been competitors in both the display panel and television markets. Samsung’s investment signals a change in that relationship, as well as a boon for Samsung, as Min-Jeong Lee And Juro Osawa of the Wall Street Journal report:
Last weekend it was iPhone 5 displays, now it's iPad 4 displays, and just as before, we have a sensational headline attributed to a couple of anonymous sources, with only the most superficial context and analysis provided far, far below in the body. This time, according to Reuters, production of iPad 4 displays at Sharp is being kept at levels only sufficient to keep the line running. However:
Sharp, which was recently claimed to have begun manufacturing screens for Apple upcoming iPhone 5 launch, is now rumored to be facing higher than expected costs, and hints production may fall behind schedule if they don't get some extra cash from Apple...
Japan's Sharp Corporation will begin shipping display components to Apple in August. This according to their new president, Takashi Okuda, who made the statement during Sharp's latest quarterly earnings report. The report wasn't exactly all that great, so rather than closing on a sour note, Takashi Okuda held a press briefing and proactively let slip the Apple news, which we can only assume he thinks will help make up for the notably dismal earnings.
Foxconn chiarman Terry Gou was recently quoted as saying that the manufacturing giant is making preparations for an Apple TV set, which included buying a significant stake in Sharp for access to LCD displays.
Apple's next generation iPhone is rumored to use a new display panel technology that could make the device not only thinner but lighter too. The panel technology which is called in-cell touch is currently being rolled out by Sharp and Toshiba.
Foxconn, Apple's infamous manufacturing partner, today invested heavily in Sharp, a prominent Japanese display manufacturer. Hon Hai, Foxconn's parent company, now owns 46.5% of Sharp, while Sharp will retain another 46.5% and Sony keeps their 7% stake.
Sharp was supposed to be supplying screens for the new iPad, but they were apparently unable to meet Apple's exacting standards, and instead Samsung and LG will be making the Retina displays. iSuppli has suggested that it's only Samsung providing the panels, but other sources have said that LG is a part of the supply deal too, even though they may not be shipping screens until April.