With plenty of reservations and $3.5 billion, Foxconn finds itself the majority shareholder of Sharp. Now what will they do?

“I am committed to make speedy investments in Sharp to help develop the next-generation display technology,” Foxconn chairman Terry Gou said when the two companies met in Osaka to seal the deal. That display technology is OLED — something Samsung does so well in, it makes more than 95 percent of the market supply according to research firm Sigma Intell.

As Apple is reportedly scouting out as many sources for as many displays as possible for an iPhone without an LCD, Foxconn is hoping that a $1.8 billion cash infusion into Sharp will get the company converted from LCD to OLED production by 2019. Analysts think first product will get into assemblers’ hands in 2020.

The question is, will it be too late? Analysts and speculators have been shooting darts as to when an OLED iPhone will make its debut. Some sources say it could happen as early as next year. Samsung is supposedly already pumping out flexible OLED displays for Apple to use well into the future.

But after many years of providing Apple with its special IGZO LCDs, Sharp may have to change to chase after business it needs to be financially viable again. The business will likely be there, as Apple would be interested in a diverse pool of component sources. Parent company Foxconn also has leverage as Apple’s main assembler of its iPhones.

However, Foxconn’s Gou wants to make sure that Sharp keeps a major priority in selling products direct to consumers.

“I will provide my full-fledged support for Sharp to become a respected, cutting-edge consumer electronics brand world-wide.”

Source: Wall Street Journal

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