GT Advanced's Failure Reveals the High Stakes Risk of Becoming an Apple Supplier

Apple and manufacturer partner GT Advanced parted ways after the sapphire supplier filed for bankruptcy earlier this year. While most Apple supplier relationships are kept secretive, the background story behind the GT-Apple partnership was revealed in a series of court documents filed by GT that were recently made public.

A follow-up report by The Guardian provides an interesting look at how a deal with Apple often can make and sometimes break a supplier. While the report does not introduce any significant new information, it is a good summary of the chain of events and may help some readers get caught up on the story.

gt_advanced_logo
In the case of GT, the outcome of its partnership with Apple was not favorable, with the supplier filing for bankruptcy in order to sever the ties between the two companies.

On 9 September Cook showed off the new phones - without sapphire screens. By 10 September GTAT stock was down 25% to $12.78; by Friday 3 October it stood at $11.05. On Monday 6 October, GTAT filed for Chapter 11, and its stock plummeted to $0.80. Trading ceased on 15 October.

Squiller says in the deposition that GTAT put itself into Chapter 11 bankruptcy (which protects a company from its creditors) simply to release itself from the Apple deal - and hence save the company.

The narrative of the relationship by GT paints a bleak picture of Apple and includes allegations of deceptive "bait and switch" business practices on Apple's part and onerous contract terms that led to productions delays. When GT questioned the contract it was about to sign, Apple reportedly confirmed "similar terms are required for other Apple suppliers" and told GT to "put on your big boy pants and accept the agreement."

In the end, GT failed to produce sapphire in suitable quality and sufficient quantity to meet Apple's demands. Instead of a success story, GT is an excellent example of what happens when a supplier goes all in with Apple and fails to scale its production technology fast enough.

Top Rated Comments

SPUY767 Avatar
88 months ago
It reveals the high stakes of business. If you make promises on which you cannot deliver you get squashed.
Score: 25 Votes (Like | Disagree)
mbh Avatar
88 months ago
Here's a moral of this story: Don't sign a contract with an industry giant unless you are absolutely 100% certain you can fulfill it, especially if it contains terms that are onerous and one sided and has severe penalties for failure.
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)
luckydcxx Avatar
88 months ago
They should have put their big boy pants on like they were told.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
IJ Reilly Avatar
88 months ago
Apple can, and does, drive a hard bargain. How anyone can claim this "paints a bleak picture of Apple" is beyond me.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
SolarShane Avatar
88 months ago
Seriously MacRumors? "There was a risk". "A classic Apple bait and switch". Wow.

They were blinded with greed and WILLFULLY signed a contract with Apple! They could've back out at any time. Did they? Nooooo! There was no risk. There was no "bait and switch".
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
spectrumfox Avatar
88 months ago
Ahh, here comes another thread of people pretending they know exactly what happened with this business arrangement between GT and Apple.

Suddenly everyone's a business major, and has insider information.

"Gotta support the team." -- Puddy
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

iOS 14 on iPhone feature emergency

Apple Releases iOS and iPadOS 14.7.1 With Fix for Touch ID Apple Watch Bug

Monday July 26, 2021 9:48 am PDT by
Apple today released iOS and iPadOS 14.7.1, minor bug fix updates that come just a week after the release of iOS 14.7, software that introduced new Apple Card features and support for the MagSafe Battery Pack. The iOS and iPadOS 14.7.1 updates can be downloaded for free and the software is available on all eligible devices over-the-air in the Settings app. To access the new software, go to...
iPad mini pro feature 2

iPad Mini 6 to Feature 8.3-Inch Display With No Home Button and Narrower Bezels

Monday July 26, 2021 12:26 pm PDT by
The sixth-generation iPad mini that's in the works will have an 8.3-inch display, according to display analyst Ross Young. That will be larger than the current 7.9-inch display, with the larger size due to the removal of the Home button and a narrower bezel design. Rumors about the iPad mini 6 have been picking up in recent weeks ahead of its prospective launch this fall. Apple analyst...
iphone 12 pro gold

Report: iPhone 14 Pro Models to Feature Tough Titanium Alloy Chassis

Monday July 26, 2021 1:12 am PDT by
Next year's "iPhone 14" series is expected to feature high-end models with a new titanium alloy chassis design, claims a new investors report by JP Morgan Chase. According to the report, the use of titanium alloy will be one of the biggest changes to the case design in the 2022 iPhone series, and Foxconn will be the exclusive manufacturer of the titanium frames for the high-end models....
nothing ear 1 buds 1

Nothing 'Ear (1)' True Wireless Earbuds Launch to Take on AirPods Pro With ANC and Unusual Design for $99

Tuesday July 27, 2021 7:57 am PDT by
Nothing, a new brand from OnePlus founder Carl Pei, has today officially launched the "Ear (1)" true wireless earbuds after months of anticipation around the company's AirPods Pro rival. The Ear (1) features an in-ear design, Active Noise Cancelation, Bluetooth 5.2, IPX4 water resistance, and a charging case with Qi-compatible wireless charging and a USB-C port. Fast pairing is supported on...
apple mac business page

Apple Shares 11 Reasons Why Business Users Should Choose Macs

Monday July 26, 2021 11:35 am PDT by
Apple today updated its Apple at Work website with a new section dedicated to the Mac, which offers up 11 reasons why "Mac means business." On the webpage, Apple highlights the M1 chip as the number one reason why business users should choose a Mac, offering up an M1 overview [PDF] that explains the benefits of the M1 chip. The information isn't new, but it does provide a look at all of...
imac with accessories

Larger Redesigned High-End iMac Rumored to Launch Next Year

Monday July 26, 2021 3:45 am PDT by
Apple's larger redesigned iMac will arrive sometime in 2022 rather than later this year, according to the leaker known as "Dylandkt." On Twitter, Dylandkt claimed that Apple's "high end iMac" is not expected to release in the fourth quarter of 2021 alongside Apple's "M1X Macs" – a reference to Apple's redesigned MacBook Pro models – because "Apple simply does not want their devices to...
General iOS 14

iOS 14.7.1 and macOS Big Sur 11.5.1 Patch Security Vulnerability That May Have Been Actively Exploited

Monday July 26, 2021 11:55 am PDT by
Apple today released unexpected iOS 14.7.1 and iPadOS 14.7.1 updates to the public, and according to a newly released support document, the software addresses a serious security vulnerability that may have been exploited in the wild. Apple says that an application may have been able to execute arbitrary code with kernel privileges due to a memory corruption issue. "Apple is aware of a report ...
apple bitcoin hack

Is Apple Really Buying Bitcoin?

Monday July 26, 2021 3:07 am PDT by
A large number of websites and posts on social media are stoking rumors that Apple has purchased $2.5 billion worth of bitcoin in the company's first move into cryptocurrency, but is there any validity to the claims? Many people are citing the fact that Apple was looking for a Business Development Manager with experience in alternative payments, including cryptocurrency, earlier this year as ...
tesla red orange bg feature

Tesla CEO Elon Musk Takes Shots at Apple During Earnings Call

Monday July 26, 2021 4:53 pm PDT by
During a Tesla earnings call that took place today, Tesla CEO Elon Musk spent time sniping at Apple, reports CNBC. Musk criticized Apple's "walled garden" and made comments on the company's cobalt use. In a discussion about plans to allow Tesla competitors to use the Tesla electric vehicle charger network, Musk said that Tesla does not want to create a walled garden to "bludgeon" Tesla...
FaceID iMac REREREREMIX

Gurman: Face ID on the Mac Coming Within a 'Couple of Years'

Sunday July 25, 2021 7:09 am PDT by
Apple plans to bring Face ID to the Mac within the next "couple of years," respected Bloomberg journalist Mark Gurman said today in the latest edition of his Power On newsletter. In the newsletter, Gurman says that he believes Apple's ultimate goal is to shift all of its products to Face ID, including the lower-end iPhones such as the iPhone SE and the iPad Air, which feature Touch ID....