RUMOUR HAS IT both Apple and Sony will be dumping Foxconn Electronics in favour of Quanta Computer next year when it comes to building their notebooks.
According to DodgyTimes, gossipy component makers reckon the fruit-themed toymaker has already moved some of its June orders from Foxconn to Quanta, meaning that the former is likely to see its share of Apple notebook shipments plummet from 20 per cent to around 10 per cent next year. That's rather a large bag of hurt for Foxconn.
A source close to the firm tells the INQ he's "not surprised" by the rumours, as many in the industry know that Foxconn's laptop partners are not entirely thrilled that Foxconn is making its own laptops, which it sells unbranded to telcos that put their own names on them to flog to punters with extortionate data plan rates.
Foxconn's build quality has also come under some criticism, something any owner of a Sony Vaio laptop can maybe appreciate. Apple, which has also found itself getting beaten up by tech press over its build quality, has also been using Foxconn to build a significant number of its Iphones and notebooks. Sources also hint that the dukes of Cupertino blame the Taiwanese OEM for quality woes, thus the move to a new builder.
Foxconn "never [was] and probably will never be good at building top notch stuff," our industry insider tells us, adding "it's just not their thing."
But Apple and Sony are to blame for letting Foxconn build their supposedly premium quality, expensive products in the first place, says our insider. As an analogy to prove his point, our source said the situation was akin to the US outsourcing missile production to China and then later blaming China for the missiles being unreliable. "If you want something done right you dont get it manufactured in China," he told us, adding it was little wonder the notebooks had quality issues.
"Foxconn is good at making stuff that is good enough at ridiculously low prices, that's it..." he told the INQ, adding that Foxconn's time to market was also bad and the firm lacked Quanta's manufacturing capabilities.
But poor quality might not be the only reason Apple and Sony have decided to abandon the Foxconn ship. Foxconn has apparently been betting on high production costs in an attempt to increase its margins, which lost the firm a lot of mobile phone orders last year.
Still, despite reportedly losing two big fish, there are plenty more apparently unafraid to swim in the murky waters of marginal quality, with Foxconn having announced partnerships with firms like Dell, HP and Asus.
They all must hope neither the laptops nor the partnerships fall apart. µ