Merely mentioning Apple and Samsung in the same breath brings to mind images of a fierce rivalry. That rivalry still certainly exists at certain levels within both companies, but it isn’t going to stop them from working with each other when there is a clear benefit.
Samsung has dedicated a team of 200 employees to working on displays exclusively for Apple, Bloomberg reports. This team was created on April 1, a date that also saw Samsung splitting its display division into separate LCD and OLED units.
Currently, Samsung is providing larger displays — those for iPads and MacBooks — but reports from as early as last year say that Samsung may provide the screens for the next iPhone.
Information on Apple-related business can only be shared within the 200-person group, which is likely a large part of the reason it was created, and possibly a condition to securing the current orders. This could also help win future screen orders for other products.
“The new exclusive team for Apple implies that the relationship between Samsung and Apple has improved,” IHS Inc. analyst Jerry Kang told Bloomberg. “This also suggests that Samsung Display will win screen orders from Apple, such as for the Apple Watch.”
This whole arrangement may seem counter-intuitive given that Samsung competes with Apple in several markets, but orders from Apple are generally large, and pay very well. Moreover, Samsung has been fabricating chips for Apple for years, so this is just another step in the same direction.
Samsung isn’t the only company competing with Apple even as it supplies parts for the company — LG supplies Apple with displays as well. In 2013 a MacBook owner filed a class action against Apple over the LG-made Retina display, which he claimed suffered from “brightness, color and image display flaws.” The Samsung-made display for the same model exhibited none of those issues.