News that Steve Jobs was stepping down as CEO of Apple led to a drop not only in the company's stock, but also in the shares of many of Apple's suppliers and partners.
After all, Apple dominates in the tablet space and is the second biggest player in smartphones. It also sells one out of every five new personal computers in the U.S., according to the latest research from NPD Group. In fact, Apple's revenue has beaten Wall Street expectations for nine straight quarters, according to Reuters.
Behind Apple's successful business lies a web of suppliers and distributors. These companies have profited from Apple's phenomenal success. Some of these firms have released statements commending Steve Jobs and voicing confidence in new Apple CEO Tim Cook and his management team.
We've drawn up a list of some of the biggest players in Apple's value chain.
Some companies are more reliant on Apple than others, but one thing binds them all together—in one way or another—they profit from Apple's continued success.
Here are 10 companies that will surely be impacted by changes at Apple.
By Rajeshni Naidu-Ghelani & Deepanshu Bagchee
Posted: 25 August 2011
AT&T is one of Apple's closest business partners and was the sole U.S. carrier of the iPhone between 2007 and 2011. In February 2011, competitor Verizon Communications also began selling the iPhone 4.
For AT&T, the iPhone has been a major hit. The company, for example, had 3.6 million activations of iPhones in just the first three months of 2011, 23 percent of whom were new subscribers to AT&T. In the first half of this year alone, AT&T has had 7.2 million iPhone activations.
After Apple announced that Steve Jobs would step down as CEO, the chairman and CEO of AT&T, Randall Stephenson, released a statement saying Jobs "is one of the industry's most gifted entrepreneurs, visionaries, and creative minds." The wireless provider also said it looked forward to collaborating with the new CEO Tim Cook and his team.
Verizon initially lost out on the iPhone when Apple went with AT&T in 2007.
But in February 2011, the largest U.S. telecommunications carrier ended years of anticipation by launching its first Apple product, the iPhone 4. Verizon and Apple had reportedly been in talks since 2008 and spent a year testing the iPhone on Verizon's CDMA network.
About one million Verizon iPhones were sold in just the debut weekend, with 60 percent of the sales coming from pre-orders. In total, 4.5 million new iPhones connections were sold by Verizon in the first six months of the year.
Foxconn Technology Group is the world's largest electronics manufacturer. Foxconn is the trade name for Hon Hai Precision Industry, which is the largest exporter in the Greater China region.
The Chinese tech giant assembles Apple's iPads, iPhones, iPods, and Mac computers in manufacturing plants across China and Taiwan. Foxconn came under fire last year for working conditions in its factories, after a string of suicides at its Shenzhen plant. The company has responded by setting up suicide hotlines, offering counseling, and installing safety nets at its plants.
Foxconn has also been trying to cope with rising labor costs in China. To meet the challenge, the company is planning to switch to using robots and reportedly will deploy one million of them within three years up from about 10,000 currently in use.
TPK Holdings is the world's largest touch-panel supplier by volume, with 30 customers in total from the U.S., Japan, and South Korea. The Taiwanese company is the largest supplier of touch panels to Apple for iPads and iPhones.
More than 70 percent of TPK's revenues of $1.12 billion in the second quarter of this year came from Apple. Robust sales of Apple's products helped TPK post record profits in the latest quarter.
Analysts have been bullish on the stock, with UBS forecasting a 40 percent upside for the shares.
Taiwan's Quanta Computer manufactures the iMac and Macbook line of computers for Apple. The Taiwan-based company's relationship with Apple dates back to the second-generation WallStreet PowerBooks of 1998.
Quanta is the largest manufacturer of notebook computers in the world, supplying brands such as Hewlett-Packard and Gateway. In fact, one out of every three laptop PCs are manufactured by the firm.
But the company has been under pressure lately, reporting a month-over-month drop in sales in July. The company shipped 31.9 million portable PCs between January and July of this year.
Intel's relationship with Apple began in 2005, when Jobs announced that Apple would make a transition away from IBM's PowerPC microprocessors in its Macintosh computers to processors made by Intel. The first generation of Intel-based Macs were released in 2006.
Reports suggest that Apple may once again turn to Intel to create mobile-processor chips that power devices such as the iPhone and iPad.
The company has been trying to gain market share in the rapidly growing area of wireless chips, which has been dominated so far by Qualcomm. Last year, Intel bought German chipmaker Infineon Technologies' wireless business for $1.4 billion. Infineon's wireless customers include Apple, Samsung Electronics and Nokia.
Samsung is the world's largest maker of memory chips. The South Korean technology giant, which supplies chips and flash drives to Apple, has had a turbulent relationship with Apple in recent years, acting as both a supplier and a competitor in the smartphone and tablet space.
The two companies have been battling over the past year, with Apple accusing Samsung of copying the iPhone's software and layout. In turn, Samsung has filed a counterclaim against Apple over patent infringement.
On Thursday, Samsung shares rose after a favorable court ruling in Netherlands and news that Steve Jobs stepped down as CEO.
Despite the lawsuits, the two have continued their manufacturer and supplier partnership. Reports suggest that the partnership between the two is worth more than $5 billion.
Toshiba supplies the LCD panel for the iPhone 3GS, flash drives for the iPhone 4, and is reported to be involved with the Retina display of the iPhone 4.
The Japanese conglomerate is listed on four different stock exchanges around the world, including New York and London.
In December, the company announced plans to spend $1.2 billion to build a factory in Japan's Ishikawa prefecture to make small high-resolution LCD panels, mainly to supply Apple's iPhones. According to the Nikkei business daily, Apple would also invest in the plant.
Catcher Technology is one of the Taiwan’s top makers of magnesium and aluminum casings for PCs and handsets.
The company supplies metal casing for Macbooks, and has seen its shares surge nearly three-fold over the past year.
The stock now trades at 17 times earnings on the back of large orders placed by Apple. Citigroup, Macquarie, and Bank of America Merrill Lynch have all raised their share-price estimates for Catcher after the firm posted earnings of $82 million from April to June, up 24 percent from the first quarter, and 183 percent from 2010.
Wintek is a Taiwan-based electronic-component maker, with operations in China and India. The firm supplies touch screens for Apple’s iPhones.
The company has been facing pressure on the pricing front. According to a report last week from Digitimes, Wintek has received touch screen orders from Apple at prices nearly 50 percent lower than previous shipments, even as volumes have increased significantly for the third quarter.
Analysts are speculating that Apple could be preparing for the usual price cuts ahead of a new product release—the iPhone 5.
The company also made headlines earlier this year after reports surfaced that workers in China were allegedly poisoned by chemicals while making the panels. The company has already paid about $1.5 million to 91 workers poisoned in 2009.
Employees wrote a letter to Jobs appealing for help after the poisoning, and an Apple representative visited the plant to listen to their demands. Apple has since ordered Wintek to stop using the chemical, N-hexane, and provide evidence that it has been removed from production lines.