back to article iPhone 5 imperilled by Sharp's 'huge' problems with tellies

Japanese electronics firm Sharp has warned that it might not be able to keep going as a company, a situation that could put pressure on supply of iPhone 5s. Sharp's consumer electronics division is dragging it down and growth in its components business won't be enough to save it on its own, financial results show. "As …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Next on the Apple acquisition list I presume.

    1. LarsG


      Produce a telly that is better than the rest.

      1. Captain Underpants

        Re: Solution?


        Merely making a better TV than the rest of TVs on the market won't be good enough, though: as far as I can tell a lot of the large Japanese tech firms have been struggling with TV sales in particular after deluding themselves into thinking that they can get consumers to buy TVs like they do mobile phones ie a new one every 18-24 months. (HD-ready/full-HD TV sales finally hitting critical mass a few years ago as HD-quality TV services and Blu-Ray players became affordably available was probably a factor here, but mistaking what amounts to a one-time-change happening over 12-18 months for a new trend that will definitely continue long-term is pretty foolish...)

        Crap build quality or components aside (which usually leads to an immediate veto of the brand, especially if their warranty cover is crap), there's no real reason a consumer needs to buy a TV more than once every 5 years (and that's at the low end of the cycle). 3D/integrated Youtube/Freeview/SuperDuperHD/whatever are not compelling enough reasons to get people to upgrade their tv every couple of years, and it's somewhat surprising that the business as a whole thought that they could change this.

  2. Shaun Sheppard

    Apple anyone?

    Could be ripe for an Apple take-over?

    1. EddieD

      Re: Apple anyone?

      Just the bits that they need - the -small- display division, for starters...

      Asset strippers ahoy!

      1. revdjenk
        Thumb Up

        Re: Apple anyone?

        Just the bits that they need - the -larger, small- display division, for starters...

        there, fixed it for you.


        as Samsung would call the 4" screen, mini...

    2. Chet Mannly

      Re: Apple anyone?

      Given they've now burned Samsung as a component supplier, Apple may have little choice. Not sure who else would have the tech and volume capability to keep cranking out ithings.

      1. Esskay

        Re: Apple anyone?

        Given the losses that Sharp are recording, it may be too heavy a burden even for Apple. $5.6bn losses are enough to burn through apple's reserves of cash at a fairly rapid rate - and enough to put them in the red and do a lot of damage to stocks.

        Crawling back to Samsung will require a painful amount of pride swallowing, but it'll be the smarter choice from an economic point of view.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

  3. Nate Amsden

    $10 billion loss

    I saw earlier this morning people talking about Panasonic announcing a $10 billion loss

    ran a search and got this

    "The loss forecast, 30 times bigger than analysts estimated"

  4. ukaudiophile

    I can't help but hope we'll see the headline that Apple has had to go crawling back to Samsung to ask if it will make it's iPhone 5 screens after Sharp crashes out of the business. It would be even funnier if Samsung said twice the price to cover it's escalating legal bills!

    1. g e

      As predicted

      But no-one reads my gumpy-old-man comments anyway...

      Meanwhile Samsung prepare a comedy-sized quotation per display panel just in case...

  5. wowfood


    Considering Sharps patent portfolio and current market targets. Wouldn't it be ironic if they were bought out by Samsung?

    1. chipxtreme

      Re: Irony

      I'd love them to be bought out by Samsung, that would be so funny. Just as long as they put the prices up on supplying screens to apple.

  6. Shaun Sheppard

    Apple should be Sharp, keep the components division and bring it in-house, then sell the sharp brand and retail factory to someone.

    Apple then making their own screens, and potentially chips?

    A match made in heaven IMO

    While they're at it, they should stick and offer in for ARM as well and pull Samsungs licence, just for the crack.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      This might have been working

      at a time when nobody was paying attention to Apple's shenanigans. Now after they have announced their colors all over the world, this is quite risky.

    2. bazza Silver badge

      "While they're at it, they should stick and offer in for ARM as well and pull Samsungs licence, just for the crack."

      There were rumours a couple of years ago that they would do just that. There were also rumours that Intel might have a pop at them. However if you consider ARM's place in the world, even the most spectacularly dozy competition regulator would sure see such a thing as being Not A Good Idea, and Apple would have to be fabulously dim witted not to realise that.

      Also such licenses often have clauses in them to guard against this very thing. Apple buying ARM might contractually lead to Samsung getting its ARM license in perpetuity for free. If that's the case then Apple would likely know that themselves from studying the small print on their own license. It would effectively make ARM immune to takeover.

      Apple buying a firm like Sharp is a risky proposition. Sharp have a talent pool that knows a lot about display panels. Without that talent pool Sharp are no where. If Apple bought Sharp those talented people might easily decide to quit, leaving Apple with an empty factory and no one to run it, defeating the point of the acquisition.

      This has happened before to Apple - they bought PA-Semi primarily for the staff talent (largely ex DEC engineers), most of whom reportedly decided they didn't like being Apple drones and left. My own speculation is that this loss forced Apple initially to go to Samsung for their processor design for the iPhone, no doubt contrary to Job's wishes, and it took quite some time for Apple to reassemble a pool of engineers to do their chip designs in house.

  7. Shane 4
    Thumb Down

    I hate when corporations use that word "restructuring", Usually it means firing the low end workers who are

    making you the money.

    1. Anonymous Coward 101

      What money are you talking about? Money that Sharp is not making?

  8. AndrueC Silver badge

    >Therefore, Sharp is in circumstances in which material doubt about its assumed going concern is found

    Yoda, is that you?

  9. Robert E A Harvey

    Oh, are Sharp still there?

    I had a Sharp car radio in the 1970s, the last bit of stuff with that name on that impressed me in any way. It had far better audio quality, including the casette drive, than any of the competition. 2 years on, the replacement had a flashy display, cost twice as much and had lost the HF performance.

    I've seen the products from time to time over the last 30 years. All very Me-too. No reason to buy them over any other. They seem to have survived by having capacity in an undersupplied market, and have no idea how to respond to the opposite position.

  10. Chairo

    To buy in, would make a lot of sense for Apple IMHO.

    Sharp and Apple both have a very similar brand strategy by selling high priced (erm - premium) products with a focus on design and technology.

    It would:

    - give them a foot in the telly market they tried so often to get in with little success.

    - give Sharp a chance to refocus and restructure and perhaps a nice logo to stick on some of their products.

    - they would be hero of the day in Japan for saving Sharp of being taken over by Taiwanese or (god beware!) Koreans. Renault and Carlos Ghozn are still held in very high regard here for saving Nissan some years back.

    - give Apple a lot of key technology and enough patents to give Samsung et al. a serious headache and strengthen them against your usual patent troll.

    Also I see little risk of Japanese engineers flocking away from Sharp because of Apple taking over. Apple has quite a good reputation here in Japan and the alternatives - to get a Chinese or Korean boss - are certainly less appealing to most Japanese.

    All in all I would say a clear win-win for both of them. Now the question is - will Apple have the guts to do it?

    Anyone taking bets?

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