updated 01:15 pm EDT, Thu May 19, 2011
Apple turns to Thinking Electronic
One of Apple's major Japanese suppliers, Murata, has yet to recover from March's 9.0+ earthquake, reports say. The company is said to have previously provided "protective components" for Apple power supplies, but had that capacity critically disrupted by the quake's damage. As a result Apple has turned to a Taiwanese company, Thinking Electronic.
Behind Murata, Thinking is normally Apple's second-largest supplier of protective components at about 35 percent. It was in a position to exploit Murata's difficulties because it claims its raw material chain was "not affected" by the quake, and that its production lines have kept on running. Murata is likely to have had some contingency supplies or products, but these would only have lasted several weeks.
In its last quarterly earnings call Apple indicated that the Japanese disaster had not greatly impacted the company's component supplies. It did however put intense effort into establishing alternate supply arrangements, which have taken effect in the case of Murata. As Apple has said it wants to maintain its Japanese partnerships, it is likely to resume dealing with Murata if and when the firm is back on its feet.