Apple's deal with sapphire supplier was a 'heads I win, tails you lose' proposition for Cupertino

The unsealing of documents relating to the bankruptcy of Apple's sapphire supplier GT Advanced Technologies sheds light on the two companies business dealings.

Last week Judge Henry Boroff ordered that certain documents relating to GT Advanced Technologies (GTAT) bankruptcy be unsealed. Specifically, these documents included a signed statement by GTAT COO Daniel Squiller outlining the company's relationship with Apple and the reasons for filing for bankruptcy.

Squiller claims that during negotiations, Apple warned managers "not waste their time" attempting to negotiate because Apple does not negotiate with its suppliers. According to GTAT, after the company balked, Apple told GTAT that its terms are and the company was told that it should "put on your big boy pants and accept the agreement."

"With a classic bait-and-switch strategy," claimed Squiller, "Apple presented GTAT with an onerous and massively one-sided deal."

Apple, it is claimed, also "had a significant number of employees" at GTAT's facilities, and that these employees were "disruptive and prevented GTAT from managing its operations as it saw fit" and had, "on multiple occasions," to be reminded that the Apple team were not there "to give directions GTAT employees."

The documents also claim that Apple turned GTAT from a supplier into a research experiment.

"In many ways, Apple, through its unrelenting control of material aspects of sapphire growth and fabrication has converted GTAT from a supplier/seller of furnaces into an experimental research and development venture for Apple funded substantially by GTAT's other stakeholders."

GTAT also claims that Apple prevented it "from doing business with any other manufacturer in or supplier to the consumer electronics market, subject to extreme penalties."

In the documents Apple reject these claims, saying that GTAT "could have walked away from negotiations with Apple and refused to enter into the Agreements" and that "GTAT's remorse for entering into the deal does not provide a basis for GTAT to defame Apple."

Apple goes on to state that "GTAT was not tricked into entering into agreements" and that "both sophisticated parties negotiated a complex set of agreements over an extended period of time" and that both companies were "represented by sophisticated counsel."

Also disclosed were a whole raft of documents ranging from confidentiality agreements to documents relating to the deal between Apple and GTAT. These outline terms such as a $50 million penalty for breaches of confidentiality, and that GTAT had to fulfill orders placed by Apple on the date given or purchase substitute goods at GTAT's expense.

GTAT/Apple - Squiller Declaration

GT Advanced/Apple Agreements

Objection by Apple to Debtors