Back in January, Steve Jobs said they were going to use some money from their insanely fat profit margins to make “strategic purchases“. A lot of industry people assumed that Apple would go on an M&A buying spree. However, what it really appears to mean is that Apple is going to pre-buy components (or offer fat deposits) to secure supply of NAND memory, processors, next generation LCD screens, etc. Apple wants it. It wants it bad, like a nasty coke habit.
According to the Korean Economic Daily (via the WSJ) Apple will spend $7.8 billion to secure components from Samsung alone.
So, it would appear that Apple is pretty much doubling down on its dependence on Korean parts suppliers. However, dependence goes both ways. Apple will likely be Samsung’s largest single customer. ZDNet calls it an odd symbiotic relationship. Samsung makes products that compete with Apple, but they are pretty much Apple’s single largest supplier. I guess one can say that they are not enemies, but frenemies.