Samsung made a Profit this quarter, but not from selling their Smartphones but rather from a Penalty Payment from Apple in a Display Dispute
Last June Patently Apple posted a report titled "Apple is Reportedly in a dispute with Samsung over a Contract Penalty kicking in due to Lower than Expected OLED Demand." The report noted that Apple was in a situation where it had to pay Samsung Display hundreds of millions of dollars in penalty charges. This is because Apple signed a contract with Samsung Display to secure a certain amount of supplies of flexible OLED panels for its new iPhones that greatly fell short of this contract.
Apple then tried to claim that they experienced some quality issues with Samsung's displays and wanted to negotiate a revised payment. Samsung was angry because they built a new factory exclusively for Apple displays and demanded the payment penalty agreed to.
Today it's being reported that Samsung beat earning expectations for the quarter, but not for reasons you'd expect. According to a DSCC (Displays Supply Chain) report published today, Samsung claimed a one-time payment from Apple from their display dispute as we reported on last year.
The report further noted that "Last week theelec.net reported that Samsung Display is believed to have received KRW 900 billion from Apple for purchasing fewer OLED smartphone panels than required, but DSCC sources suggest that the payment is closer to US$950 million. The Apple payment likely turned what otherwise would have been an operating loss for display devices into an operating profit. The Q2 payment follows the pattern from a year ago, when DSCC estimated that Apple paid SDC KRW 900 billion in Q2 2019 for a shortfall in OLED panel orders.
In May we reported that Apple was to give LG orders for OLED displays for the iPhone 12 in the 20 million range. Apple will hopefully bring in BOE for OLED displays in 2021. Apple is also moving to mini-LED displays from LG for the iPad Pro and at least one MacBook device instead of using OLED displays from Samsung. While it appears that Apple is attempting to lower their dependence on Samsung, Samsung's quality and reliability is hard to match.