Apple suppliers have started referring to the company as the “Poison Apple” due to its “hard-to-meet high standards and low price expectations.” Unnamed suppliers have also told Reuters that they’ve grown weary of Apple’s “ever-moving deadlines” and said they are now trying to “reduce their reliance on the company.” Given reports that several key Apple products are facing delays because they’re difficult to produce, it’s not surprising that there’s tension between the company and its suppliers, especially amid reports that several suppliers have taken hits to their earnings over the past quarter due to subpar iPhone demand.
Even though partners like Facebook, Google, and Samsung are in direct competition with Apple, many of Apple’s other partners—especially manufacturers in the Far East—are not. Still, just because you’re a company writing big checks, it doesn’t mean you can push your partners around. As others’ mobile phones and tablets grow in prominence and market share, companies besides Apple will have increasing power to write bigger checks and give as much business to Apple’s partners as the iPhone maker can. This means it’s possible in the future (all other things being equal) that a manufacturing partner with critical supplies could choose to forgo a partnership with Apple in favor of one with Samsung—all because they could be seen as being easier to deal with.