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WSJ: Apple is ‘surprised’ that it may have bankrupted its own sapphire supplier

Published Oct 8th, 2014 1:00PM EDT
Apple GT Advanced Bankruptcy

By far the most surprising Apple-related news to break this week was the bankruptcy filing of GT Advanced Technologies, the company that was tapped as Apple’s primary supplier for sapphire displays for the Apple Watch and other future devices. The Wall Street Journal now reports that Apple said on Wednesday that it was just as surprised to learn about the news as anyone else, even though the company might have been primarily responsible for its bankruptcy.

RELATED: Why your iPhone might never get a sapphire display

“We are focused on preserving jobs in Arizona following GT’s surprising decision and we will continue to work with state and local officials as we consider our next steps,” Apple said in a regulatory filing cited by the Journal.

However, the Journal’s sources also say that Apple played a key role in GT Advanced’s decision to file for bankruptcy — apparently, the company withheld a crucial payment in September because the sapphire supplier didn’t meet certain metrics.

“Apple had agreed to four prepayments to GT totaling $578 million — contingent on meeting certain technical requirements — to buy equipment for the facility,” the Journal reports. “Apple didn’t pay the final $139 million of its prepayment loans because GT didn’t meet those technical milestones.”

It’s entirely possible, of course, that Apple could have withheld this crucial payment without knowing that GT’s books were in such rough shape. This will definitely be interesting to follow in the coming days.

Prior to joining BGR as News Editor, Brad Reed spent five years covering the wireless industry for Network World. His first smartphone was a BlackBerry but he has since become a loyal Android user.