A surprising Korean report this afternoon emphatically states that Sharp, the leading company in the small & medium-sized LCD panel market, is starkly changing its supply strategy. After inviting investments from Samsung, the Japan-based company is strengthening its cooperation with Samsung. According to the industry on May 8, Sharp stopped the production of LCD panels for iPad as of January this year and started supplying Samsung with small & medium-sized IGZO panels instead.
Korea IT News reports that "The Japanese LCD maker is going to focus on producing LCD panels for Samsung. IGZO panels commercialized around the end of last year will be provided for Samsung's laptop computers.
Starting from an 11.6-inch IGZO panel, Sharp is planning to supply various types of IGZO panels. As such, the company is expected to sharply increase the production portion for laptop computer LCD panels which the company hardly produced in the past. According to DisplaySearch, a market research firm, Sharp has a plan to double the production of laptop computer LCD panels on a quarterly basis. And the company is also planning to supply large-sized LCD panels for 15 inch laptop computers sometime soon."
An industry source told Korea IT News that "Sharp is focusing on the production of IGZO panels as its new growth engine. It was initially known that the company would provide the product to Apple, but it has changed its supply strategy for Samsung."
We covered BrightWire's report on this as far back as last December that such a move was in the works. Today's report seems to confirm that original report.
In March Forbes published a report titled Does Samsung's Investment in Sharp Threaten Apple? Forbes reported at that time that "industry observers believe that Apple must be alarmed in the extreme at the possible loss of intellectual property to Samsung as the result of a Samsung-Sharp equity tie-up."
Whether today's revelations are restricted to larger display panels starting at the 11.6" size as noted in the report is unknown at this time.
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