Longtime rivals Apple and Samsung are also bedfellows on several fronts -- and Samsung has formed a new team to focus on displays for its frenemy, according to a new report.
Samsung Display, the conglomerate's screen-making subsidiary, has brought together about 200 employees who will work exclusively on Apple's account, Bloomberg reported late Tuesday, citing people who claim to have knowledge of the division. The team was formed on April 1 and handles only Apple's needs for displays across its product line, including MacBooks and iPads, according to Bloomberg. The team is focused on development, as well as sales.
Samsung has already been selling displays to Apple for years and has been the, so the new effort is a honing of Samsung's approach and not an entirely new one.
Apple and Samsung have long had a complicated relationship. For years, the companies have engaged in lawsuits around the world over alleged patent violations in a slew of mobile products. Last year,after years of litigation and hundreds of millions of dollars in legal fees.
Apple and Samsung are also in a bitter battle in several markets, including smartphones, tablets, and now, wearables. The rivalry is the most intense in smartphones, with Samsung and Apple vying each quarter to best the other in total shipments. Apple ended last year strong with help from its iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, but Samsung is still a major force in the worldwide mobile market and has new flagship phones --the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge -- that launched Friday.
While all of those battles have been waged, Apple and Samsung have also been partners. Samsung, for instance, was the exclusive provider for Apple's iPhone and iPad processors for years before the iPhone maker decided last year to give some of its orders to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co.
In other words, Apple has been a bitter competitor to Samsung, while simultaneously relying on it. Samsung, meanwhile, has been able to profit off the sale of its top competitor's products.
If Samsung has indeed established its own exclusive team for Apple, it would suggest that the company is expecting more orders to come in from the iPhone maker. According to Bloomberg's sources, Samsung Display could be making screens for Apple Watch. Samsung will also make the A9 processors expected to make their way to Apple's next line of iPhones, according to Bloomberg's sources.
Neither Apple nor Samsung immediately responded to a request for comment.