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Apple looks elsewhere for LCDs

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According to Reuters, Apple is planning to invest more than one billion Dollars in Sharp’s LCD business. This comes amid disputes between Apple and Samsung.

Apple plans to invest to more than US$1 billion in Sharp’s LCD business, reports Reuters. According to sources, the move is designed to diversify Apple’s list of suppliers for screens for its iPad and iPhone, reducing its dependence on Samsung, which whom it is embroiled in a high-profile patents dispute. As well as the investment in Sharp, Apple is also thought to be investing in a new LCD factory being built by Toshiba. “If the situation [between Apple and Samsung] escalates into a state of war, this could mean a huge shift in orders,”” said a source.

According to Reuters, Japanese media have been reporting for some time that Apple may invest around JPY100 billion (US$1.3 billion) in the Sharp plant, but Sharp’s shares outperformed the market on Wednesday after brokerage MF Global FXA Securities highlighted the likelihood of the investment in a sales note. Sharp’s shares ended 1.8 percent higher yesterday.

“”We think it is highly possible that Apple will make an investment in Sharp’s Kameyama plant to the tune of around US$1 billion in order to secure a stable supply of screens for iPhones and iPads,”” said MF Global FXA Securities analyst David Rubenstein. “”This would have a material impact on Sharp’s profitability.””

The switch in LCD display suppliers may also be linked to reported delays in the development of Apple’s iPad 3. According to Taiwan’s DigiTimes, Apple was originally set to launch iPad 3 in the second half of 2011 but has pushed this back due to problems sourcing 9.7-inch panels with sufficient resolution from its current suppliers.

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