The “Bait and Switch” That Ended the Relationship Between Apple and GT

GT Advanced Technologies Inc. said Apple pulled a classic “bait and switch” with the synthetic sapphire supplier, leading GT to file for bankruptcy. The news came last Friday, when documents relating to GT’s bankruptcy case were disclosed, after initially being held under court seal.

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The Wall Street Journal reported more details from the released documents, which included statements from GT Chief Operating Officer Daniel Squiller, such as how Apple left GT in an “onerous and massively one-sided deal.” Here is an excerpt from the WSJ article:

“Squiller wrote Apple had turned GT into a 'captive supplier' by 'constant interference' and changes in product specifications, for which it didn’t compensate the New Hampshire-based company.”

Apple, however, had a different take on the situation.

“Apple said the filing was intended to ‘vilify Apple and portray Apple as a coercive bully.’ Apple said Mr. Squiller’s statements were untrue and defamatory. Apple also said it didn’t trick GT, which it said is a ‘sophisticated publicly traded company’ with its own lawyers."

GT was reportedly supposed to supply Apple with sapphire screens for its smartphones. That deal never actually materialized. According to Squiller, that was because Apple changed the terms of the deal at the last minute, giving GT no time to react and regroup.

It also seems clear that this whole ordeal has left the relationship between GT and Apple broken beyond repair. WSJ reported GT lawyer Luc Despins said, “There are discussions between Apple and the company not about continuing the marriage but rather what I could call a divorce without a custody fight.” Apple, however, prefers to “not to have the discussion of its business relationship take place in the public eye,” a company lawyer said.

Time will tell how this scenario plays out not only with GT, but if it has an impact on other Apple suppliers and the tech giant’s overall reputation.

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