In brief: Companies snagging heads from competing firms happens all the time. However, Apple's recent grab of Samsung SDI's VP Soonho Ahn may be a tell that it is planning to bring battery production under its own roof. The former head of Samsung's battery maker will now be heading up Apple's battery work.
Apple has hired a former Samsung executive to head up its battery division.
According to a report out by Bloomberg, Cupertino picked up Soonho Ahn back in December. Ahn was previously senior vice president for about three years at Samsung SDI, which is Samsung’s battery fabrication subsidiary. His previous experience listed in his LinkedIn profile includes leading the development of lithium battery packs and working on “next generation” battery technology. Ahn's new title will be "Global Head of Battery Developments" at Apple.
The iPhone maker and Ahn’s relationship is not limited to the head hunting of the exec. Samsung SDI previously provided batteries for Apple products. The hiring may be an effort to move battery production entirely in-house. Apple has been making moves to cut back on its supply chain, so this would make sense.
"Apple and Ahn didn’t respond to requests for comment."
Apple's talks within the mining industry to secure a cobalt supplier also seems to indicate its intent in producing power cells. So even though neither Apple nor Ahn have commented on the move, bringing battery production home seems evident.
Cutting down its supply chain could give Apple a significant advantage against Samsung, especially consider the Korean electronics maker has acted directly as Cupertino’s supplier of several components including screens and batteries. Weening itself off of a provider which happens to be its biggest competitor can only work in Apple’s favor — that is as long as it can avoid any battery catastrophes.