March 6, 2013
Samsung has purchased a 3.08 percent stake in Japanese electronics firm Sharp Corp. valued at around $112 million. This deal, although it sounds small, could change the overall smartphone landscape for years to come, according to The Next Web. One of Sharp’s major customers for displays, of course, is Apple. Currently, the company supplies screens for iPhones and iPads. The deal announced Wednesday is being described as a way to “help Sharp reduce its dependency on Apple.” The missing player in this is Hon Hai, the parent company of Apple partner Foxconn. For months, both sides have been trying to complete a deal that would give the Taiwanese manufacturer a 10 percent stake in Sharp. That deal, which must be finalized by the end of March, could be influenced by Samsung’s moves. The New York Times suggests that the Samsung-Sharp alliance could “reshape tech alliances.” And it shows “how serious (Samsung) is in winning a global battle with Apple for dominance in the lucrative market for mobile devices.” Samsung was once one of Apple’s primary suppliers of parts for mobile devices. However, legal challenges, and the growing popularity of Samsung’s own devices have significantly eroded this relationship in recent years. Depending on just how successful the Samsung-Sharp deal becomes, it looks like Apple will need to deal with their archenemy as a suppler after all.