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Apple and GT Advanced Technologies sign deal for 'amicable' uncoupling

Apple and GT Advanced Technologies sign deal for 'amicable' uncoupling

October 22, 2014

Apple and GT Advanced Technologies are splitting up.

But as reported by The Wall Street Journal, the erstwhile partners have signed a deal that will make for what Luc Despins, attorney for the tech giant’s bankrupt sapphire supplier, says is an “amicable parting of the ways”:

Mr. Despins said GT Advanced and Apple have agreed to file a revised explanation for GT Advanced’s surprise bankruptcy filing as part of the pact, and ultimately erase from the public record the court papers that set out what went wrong in the relationship between the two companies.

GT Advanced filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Oct. 6.

While Apple was “surprised” by the filing, one of the key reasons behind GT Advanced’s bankruptcy was reported to be Apple’s withholding of a $139 million payment due to the sapphire maker. Another was Apple’s decision to stick with Corning’s Gorilla Glass rather than GT Advanced’s sapphire for the screens of the recently released iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.

Last week, Apple sought to make its objections against GT Advanced’s bankruptcy filing under court seal to safeguard sensitive data. This came shortly after GT Advanced’s secrecy agreements with Apple were revealed to impose a fine of up to $50 million for every occurrence of information leak.

Following its bankruptcy filing, GT Advanced revealed its plans to wind down its sapphire plants in Arizona and Massachusetts, a move that could lead to the mass layoff of as many as 890 workers. Then, last week, the company announced that it would be letting go of 727 employees at its factory in Mesa, Arizona.

Under the terms of its split-up accord with Apple, GT Advanced is allowed to sell the furnaces at its Mesa plant and give the money from the sale to pay its debt to Apple, which financed the facility.

GT Advanced’s sapphire is used by Apple as covering for the Touch ID and camera components on the iPhone 5s, the iPhone 6, and the iPhone 6 Plus. It’s also expected to be found on the Apple Watch, since Apple has reportedly contracted GT Advanced to produce sapphire for the wearable device, which is due to be launched early next year.

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