Making LCD panels can be a tricky business, consisting of precision fabrication with a low tolerance for errors. Back in 2004, Sony and Samsung thought that the best way to produce the panels needed for their electronics would be to partner-up. Together, they formed S-LCD, a corporation that produces displays used not only by Sony and Samsung, but also the likes of HTC. Now that partnership is dissolving, with Samsung taking things over.
The split in ownership between the two companies had been nearly equal, with Samsung holding a slight majority of shares. In order to gain complete control, Samsung is paying Sony a smidge under one billion dollars for its shares.
Sony will continue to have the option to use S-LCD-manufactured screens, which feature in everything from living room TVs to smartphones. It also may stay involved with the engineering going into next-generation LCD technologies, working with Samsung to bring such ideas to the fabrication process.
What does this all mean for you? Well, hopefully Samsung will use its new influence to streamline things at S-LCD, maybe resulting in lower-priced components and, and ultimately more affordable smartphones. It’s really too early to say, but this move looks like it could have anywhere from a neutral to positive effect on the smartphone market.
If everything goes as anticipated, Sony and Samsung should finalize things sometime next month.