Apple had only two years as the biggest buyer of semiconductors. It became the No.1 buyer in 2010, held the position in 2011 and slipped down to No.2 in 2012.
Interestingly, Samsung, the new No.1, bought (including internal purchases) $18.6bn worth of semiconductors in 2011 and bought nearly $24bn worth in 2012, according to Gartner, while Apple bought $18.8bn worth in 2011 and $21.4bn worth in 2012.
That seems to reflect the relative fortunes of Samsung and Apple in the smartphone market where Apple and Samsung, level-pegging in shipments in 2011, had a 220 million unit to 130 million unit differential in Samsung’s favour in 2012, according to Future Horizons.
Clearly Wall Street has become disenchanted with Apple – wiping $175 billion off its market cap since the peak, and I don’t think analysts will be impressed by Apple CEO Tim Cook’s opaque response to being asked by Goldman Sachs about the rumours that Apple had halved its components orders for iPhone 5 in the face of weak orders.
According to Seeking Alpha, Cook replied: “I know there has been lots of rumors about order cuts and so forth and so let me just take a moment to make a comment on these, I don’t want to comment on any particular rumor because I would spend my life doing that but I would suggest it’s good to question the accuracy of any kind of rumor about build plans and also stress that even if a particular data point were factual it would be impossible to accurately interpret the data point as to what it meant for our overall business because the supply chain is very complex and we obviously have multiple sources for things, yields might vary, supply performance can vary. The beginning inventory positions can vary, I mean there is just an inordinate long list of things that would make any single data point not a great proxy for what’s going on.”
So thanks Tim – that’s sorted that one out then.