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Apple may be looking to invest as much as $1 billion in Japanese corporation Sharp in an effort to secure a stable supply of LCD screens for iPhones and iPads. Reuters reports that Apple is looking to diversify suppliers as court battles with Samsung Electronics heat up across the globe.
MF Global FXA Securities analyst David Rubenstein thinks it is highly likely that Apple will invest in Sharp’s Kameyama plant and that the move would have a material impact on Sharp’s profitability.
"An investment could lead to more ties between Apple and the suppliers to Sharp and Toshiba," said Shuzo Takada, a director of the Japanese trade ministry's industrial revitalization division. "At a time when Japan faces the threat of a hollowing out of industry, this is encouraging."
The news seems to fit chronological order as yesterday it was reported that the iPad 3 was being delayed due to poor Retina display yields, namely from Samsung and LG Display.
News of the investment could be interpreted as contradictory to the report from yesterday since the latter indicated that Sharp was Apple’s primary display provider. Some believe that today’s news indicates that Apple is looking to diversify suppliers while others think it’s simply an action to decrease dependence on Samsung.
This isn’t the first time we have heard news of Apple investing in Sharp. Late last year a similar story broke regarding an investment in Sharp’s Mie Prefecture plant to produce LCD panels for the iPhone. Apple blog MacRumors reported on a story in April that claims Sharp has been tabbed as the display manufacturer for the sixth-generation iPhone due in 2012.
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