updated 11:45 pm EDT, Wed September 21, 2011
Apple taps Elpida, Toshiba for more flash and RAM
Industry sources purported Wednesday night that Apple was increasing its orders for NAND flash memory and RAM from Japanese suppliers. The parts, which Digitimes suggests would respectively come from Toshiba and Elpida, would help it further reduce dependence on Samsung. Both Apple and Samsung are involved in reciprocal lawsuits, and Apple is likely eager to avoid any retaliation from Samsung through the supply chain.
Clues have already surfaced that Apple was outsourcing A6 and A7 chips to TSMC in another attempt to minimize Samsung's impact. It may be difficult to escape Samsung for displays given its being one of two companies believed to be supplying iPad 3 displays.
Both sides have said they intend to remain business partners for supplies, and for Apple it might be difficult to completely escape its Korean source. As the largest flash producer in the world with 30 percent of NAND flash and 40 percent of RAM, Samsung is one of the few companies that, individually, can keep up with much of Apple's demand. With multiple suppliers now able step in, though, Apple could have the freedom not just to avoid vulnerability to Samsung but to punish the company by depriving it of what's often its largest customer.
Samsung has tried countersuing Apple but has spent much of the past several weeks on the losing side with preliminary product bans already in effect.