Apple corners market for display panels

“Apple Inc.’s stranglehold on parts supplies forced a month-long delay in the release of Research In Motion Ltd.’s PlayBook tablet computer, a report from Taiwanese trade publication DigiTimes said Thursday,” Michael Lewis reports for The Toronto Star.

“It said PlayBook shipments were postponed partly because Apple had already booked most of the available capacity of touch display panels,” Lewis reports. “The component is needed to manufacture the 7-inch BlackBerry PlayBook, which is set for full commercial rollout starting on April 19.”

Lewis reports, “DigiTimes said assembler Quanta Computer and connector maker Foxlink, also an Apple supplier, are picking up the pace of component deliveries to RIM because they see the PlayBook as one of this year’s major tablet orders.”

MacDailyNews Take: Delusional.

Lewis reports, “Apple said in its most recent earnings call that it had invested $3.9 billion (U.S.) of its nearly $60 billion in cash reserves in long-term supply contracts. The company declined to reveal the components involved, citing competitive concerns, but analysts say the investment was related to touch displays.”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Sarah” for the heads up.]

34 Comments

  1. Remember what Tim Cook said. If we could have made more we would have sold more. I think Apple is learning how to use that more than $60,000,000,000 that is in the bank.

    1. Nope. The government can’t really tell suppliers who they should be selling too and as long as Apple actually plans to use the equipment they have every right to buy up the bulk since they are selling the most tablets.

      1. Considering the government is trying to tell AT&T and Verizon make data roaming deals, don’t think they won’t next try to tell companies who they can supply components to.

        1. Since when does the US Government tell foreign suppliers how to do business? If they were going to start anywhere it should have been with the Auto Industry in the ’70s.

    2. Since most of the other companies involved are not American, it’s seems very unlikely that anything would be done. In any case, it is not monopolistic to buy every widget made by a particular company anywhere. Good for Apple to have created such a market that they can buy what they need up front and not wait and see like all the others.

    3. Not unless the FTC can prove that Apple made deals with component vendors telling them not to sell components to any other tablet vendors.

      Look at it this way. If you were a component vendor and Apple had a huge order and was willing to pay cash up front plus a premium to buy all your inventory, would you tell Apple, “No. I don’t think it would be fair to the other companies.” If that’s what you’d say, well then I take my hat off to you. I can’t believe many, if any, component vendor would say something like that. They’d eye the cash and say thank, we’ll get right on it. Anything else would be poor business strategy.

      There’s no way the FTC could deny that Apple products have high demand and every component will absolutely be used. So I doubt they could say that Apple is buying up components without cause to deliberately block rivals from getting components. Apple can sell every iPad 2 they make and more.

    4. No, for many reasons:

      1) Apple is not a touch screen manufacturer, so they cannot technically have a monopoly in the touch screen market.

      2) Apple cannot be accused of anti-competitive “hoarding” since they can quickly point to their inventory (one of the smallest in the industry) and their sales numbers and prove that they are filling demand.

      3) As Laughing_Boy48 pointed out, the other way to be anti-competitive is to collude with your suppliers to somehow shut out Apples competitors from the marketplace (or give them lesser terms at Apple’s behest). Nobody is making that claim at this point.

      Basically, Apple is challenging the display marketplace with unprecedented demand, just as they did with the solid-state memory market a few years ago.

  2. John,
    There’s no law against having a monopoly, only against ABUSING it. Buying the components that you NEED with the money that you SAVED is as far from abuse as it gets.

    1. And Apple is not even close to being a monopoly anyway. It’s not like there aren’t other electronics manufacturers selling their wares in the marketplace.

  3. It always amazes me how often people want to inject a clueless government drone bureaucrat into someone else’s legitimate business in an effort to reshape reality to fit their personal whims.

    There is nothing unfair or hegemonious in this situation. The supply is constrained. Apple has a hot product with people waiting in line to buy it. RIM doesn’t. Apple can therefore afford to offer incentives to suppliers to get preferred treatment. Suppliers are certainly free to accept the incentives they are offered.

    Its none of your business and none of the FTC’s business how much apple pays for its parts or it if pays for them up-front.

    If it upsets you that RIM cannot buy flat panels, then invest your money into a company that makes flat panels and help them expand the production capacity.

    This authoritarian attitude that some people have to dictate to other people how their affairs should be run gets quite old.

        1. Be prepared to be amazed yet again!

          I have been a buying fan of Apple for the past 16 years. My question was very simple, there were no ulterior motives or agendas expressed or implied. And who made any mention of RIM?

          My question was born out of concern due to a plethora of attacks on iPad recently by HP, Dell and MS. It seemed to me like artillery softening up the beach head for an assault by the dreaded FTC.

          I am no liberal/progressive – not as long as there is a God in Heaven; neither am I an authoritarian.

          You fabricated quite a little fantasy there. If you are unpublished, I can certainly see why.

          1. Sorry if I misinterpreted your words. But the way it was worded…particularly throwing in the word “hegemony”…suggested you were desirous of the FTC intervening.

            I’m not interested in responding to the little barb about fantasies. However, I would like to know what “if you are unpublished” means?

        2. Honestly JG I do not think it was more than a simple question. If John had intended to say it ‘should’ be done he could have phrased it quite differently. I imagine what defines a monopoly and how it is regulated would be unclear to many people. I have seen a great many organizational emails that were misinterpreted by folks who received them, so I for one take some care in being clear.

          It is amazing how much human communication is actually non-verbal, and the difficulty when communication is limited to text only.

          John, were you suggesting the FTC should intervene?

  4. How can Apple’s purchase of 9.7 and 3.7 inch high-quality touch screens stop RIM from purchasing an inferior-quality7 inch touch screen? I don’t get why such articles are stating Apple is keeping RIM from delivering. I always thought RIM was keeping RIM from delivering.

    1. Because Big, Bad Guy Apple raping and pillaging RIM makes more interesting copy. Inciting hate is more thrilling than using simple logic. We’ll eventually hear that evil Steve Jobs personally told Tim Cook to callously screw RIM over for daring to defy Steve’s 7″ display D.O.A. message. I love it.

      Should Tim Cook have said to the touch panel vendor, “Save some of those doodads for RIM’s PlayBook because RIM has said so many nice things about us in the past.” Yeah, good one.

  5. Delusional alright. another game the shysters of WS have come up with.

    The playbbok is not delayed because of apple. They are not sure they want to release it. I bet they release a few then pull back and again bleam supply constraints. They will say there is a limited supply and have their employees and some banks (their WS partners) to purchase some.

  6. Apology accepted.

    I used the word hegemony because Apple is having such a run of wholly deserved successes lately that they are the dominant force in the tech realm. Their dominance is bordering on hegemony, seemingly. I couldn’t be more thrilled, considering the 90’s etc.

    Because of Apple’s success I do fear, in a rational way, that there might be a bull’s eye on its back. There is a tendency in your country – I am Canadian- to punish success by regulation, taxation and/or harrassment.

    All of that to say, your reaction to my question was so forceful and adversarial and contained what to me were “fictional” accusations –
    “to inject a clueless government drone bureaucrat into someone else’s legitimate business”
    “This authoritarian attitude that some people have to dictate to other people how their affairs should be run…”

    Because they were to me fictional accusations – fantasies, I was wondering if you were a frustrated “unpublished” author.

    Look, I am sorry for being sarcastic; I don’t even know you. I guess I was over-reacting to what I felt were over-reactions by you.

    1. no. I’m a resident of california and I’m sick and tired of people telling me how I can use my cell phone and why my kid can’t have happy meals and why I am evil because my car is too big and why my shower-head should only trickle and that I can’t have grass on my lawn.

      There is no aspect of life any more where there isn’t some pencil-necked, ivy-league-educated bureaucrat trying to dictate to me how I live my life. Part of the reason for this situation is that massive hoards of people have this mentality that they ought to be able to use the government to force other people to behave and think according to their expectations. These people are constantly calling for rules, regulations and investigations to try to manipulate society….all in the name of protecting me from myself or achieving some other grand social goal that I don’t care about.

      The thing is….is not the corrupt elitist politician who implements this stuff that bugs me that much. They are behaving as politicians have always behaved. It is that hoard of busy-body do-gooders who are the support base for the crooked politicians that get on my nerves. They are quick to jump in your face and lecture you because you don’t drive a Prius or you eat meat or you shop at Wal-mart. When I see an opportunity to go at one of them on a bulletin board, I often take it.

          1. Hell yeah I do! It’s all just a matter of framing and what you believe in. Your “unborn baby” is a pretty useless hunk of flesh to me, especially in the first three months, and if some lady wants to flush it down the toilet because she isn’t ready to bear a child I could give a rat’s ass. On the other hand, McDonalds is a multibillion dollar corporation that has every tool of modern science and marketing at its disposal, and uses them to generate huge profits for mostly already-rich people by duping uneducated people into eating shit that’s bad for them. Now don’t get me wrong… I wouldn’t ban happy meals myself, but if some state’s voters want to ban them because they encourage unhealthy eating in (mostly poor, undereducated) kids, I’m not going to cry for the poor happy meal consumer–and much less for McDonald’s owners–any more than for that fetus.

            1. How cold and heartless. How many years of indoctrination by marxist-atheists do you have to have to be able to be able to dehumanize a person and suggest he should be able to be killed merely for the sake of your personal convenience?

              The whole abortion movement was pushed by people like Margaret Sanger who was a devout atheist, marxist and proponent of Eugenics. She pushed this stuff as a means of social engineering…….culling herd….preventing the birth of the poor and downtrodden so that they don’t have to suffer through life. This mentality is genocidal. These are/were people who think they are the elite intellectuals who get to decide who lives and who dies. I would never associate myself with such an evil ideology.

              If you have corporations so much, why are you using that computer? 95% of the computing infrastructure that exists wouldn’t exist without corporations employing people and creating the technologies. You don’t really think that computing technology that is enjoyed today by the world could have ever been developed by central planning committees staffed by political hack morons (such as happens in marxist systems) would ever be able to develop such technologies, do you?

              BTW: its none of your business and its none of the business of “voters” to decide whether or not I can eat a happy meal.

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