The company will no longer supply its rival with liquid crystal display (LCD) panels, the Korea Times reported Oct. 22. Citing an unnamed Samsung official, the article said Samsung has already cut its portion of shipments to Apple and starting in 2013, it will end LCD shipments to Apple completely.
The announcement has led to speculation that the ongoing patent wars between the two mobile giants was a significant factor in Smasung’s decision.
Apple has been ordering fewer Samsung-manufactured displays for use in its iPhones and tablets as it is doing business with some of Samsung’s rivals, attracted by better pricing.
“We are unable to supply our flat-screens to Apple with huge price discounts. Samsung has already cut our portion of shipments to Apple and next year we will stop shipping displays,” a senior Samsung source, told the Korea Times.
According to “multiple sources” contacted by The Korea Times, Samsung apparently plans to compensate for the loss of Apple’s business by selling more displays to its own handset division, as well as e-commerce king Amazon, which sells the Kindle Fire HD tablet.
Samsung Display was the top supplier to Apple at the end of June, shipping more than 15 million LCDs. LG took second place supplying Apple with 12.5 million displays followed by Japan’s Sharp with 2.8 million, according to market research firm DisplaySearch.
Samsung shipped less than 3 million displays to Apple during the third quarter, however, “and we expect the quarterly shipment in the fourth quarter to fall to some 1.5 million,” the source, who is “directly involved with the matter,” told the Korea Times.
The relationship between Samsung and Apple soured last year when the iPhone maker launched a lawsuit against Korean company, claiming it had infringed on Apple’s copyright by copying the look and feel of the iPhone and iPad. Samsung has since responded in kind.
The companies are now embroiled in a patent fracas in 10 countries as each accuses the other of copying one another’s mobile devices.
Competition has become particularly fierce as the holiday season approaches with both firms striving to dominate the mobile market.
U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh recently rescinded a ban on U.S. sales of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 that she imposed in June. Koh said she had no grounds for keeping the preliminary injunction in place after jurors decided in an Aug. 24 verdict Samsung did not violate an Apple design patent.
Apple, however, said the ban should not be lifted because the jury concluded the Samsung device violated other patents at issue in the case.
A jury awarded Apple $1.05 billion in a separate case in August after determining a number of Samsung Smartphones violated Apple’s iPhone patents.
Koh also has ordered Apple to release information on its iPhone sales, earnings and profit margins.
Apple recently lost its appeal in a U.K. court after the judicial panel upheld a July ruling, unanimously agreeing that Samsung’s tablets just “are not as cool” as the iPad and, therefore, Samsung did not infringe on Apple’s rights.
Judge Robin Jacob of the Court of Appeal also ordered Apple to broadcast the court rulings to ensure consumers know Samsung’s Galaxy tablet is not a knock-off.
Apple has not said if it will take its appeal to the Supreme Court, the final court of appeal for U.K. civil cases.
Samsung, meanwhile, claimed in its court filing Oct. 1 that Apple’s iPhone 5, which was released last month, infringes two standards patents and six features patents.
The case is set for trial in 2014. Samsung’s initial complaint names the same eight patents as the reason for alleging infringement by previous iPhone models, as well as the iPad and iPod Touch.