PC makers struggle as Apple locks up metal chassis supply

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Comments

  • Reply 21 of 77
    cvaldes1831cvaldes1831 Posts: 1,832member


    It's Digitimes.


     


    Nothing to see here, people, keep moving along.

     

  • Reply 22 of 77
    iqatedoiqatedo Posts: 1,596member


    You know, Ronald Reagan broke the Soviet Union by threatening to outspend them in defensive systems and the defence of the NATO block to such an extent, that the Russians realised that they'd go broke trying to compete. (Remember his star wars?)


     


    Apple has sort of done the same thing to pc manufacturers by going to thinner and thinner systems.  It's expensive to do but just so attractive to the consumer.  This whole process plays right into Tim Cooks area of expertise and takes advantage of Apple's enormous cash horde.  Apple is playing with them!

  • Reply 23 of 77
    neweranewera Posts: 7member
    Hell Redmond is using the whole Apple model with its store apps and everything else. Guess that's just intellectual production not requiring certain machinery. But when you look at the Windows 8 forum for the "new" release you see all kinds of problems. Just like the machine factory, the imitators don't really have the intellectual factory either.
  • Reply 24 of 77
    umrk_labumrk_lab Posts: 550member


    "Ultraportable PC Notebooks" (ridiculous term) manufacturers problem is not supply, but demand ....

  • Reply 25 of 77
    ifij775ifij775 Posts: 470member
    This seems unlikely. Every windows notebook I've ever owned was mostly plastic.
  • Reply 26 of 77
    jonoromjonorom Posts: 293member
    jragosta wrote: »
    Those comments are nonsense. There is nothing magical about the CNC machines used to make computer cases. I am familiar with machine shops and could easily find 50 shops within a 20 mile radius of my home that can do it. It's also not that hard to set up a machine shop. Buy a couple of machines (and they ARE available - we've bought several in the past few years), rent or buy a facility, and hire someone who knows how to program the machine. And even that wouldn't be necessary - there are hundreds of thousands of machine shops in the US and many thousands in China, as well. It would only take a few phone calls to find shops capable of making the cases.
    The entire premise of Apple making it impossible for people to make cases is absurd.
    Now, it is true that Apple has done a masterful job of setting up a supply chain to ensure a stead supply of reasonably priced cases. It took them years to do that - but anyone else can do it if they're willing to put in the time and effort. The fact that they're looking for a shortcut (by trying to tap into Apple's supply chain) is not Apple's problem. Rather, it is further indication of the inability of most PC vendors to do anything creative.

    I suspect that getting access to a few CNC mills here and a few there is not the problem. Industrial-scale production and quality control of these cases probably requires hundreds of mills co-located, with very uniform and specific high-quality capabilities. This is what is not sitting around waiting for a modest order from HP that may suddenly become a large order.

    Apple has invested in barn-loads of these mills, probably buys dozens more every month, and has a near-perfect match between demand and production capacity.
  • Reply 27 of 77


    I am waiting for someone to take Apple to court over this..... or Eric Holder's DoJ to be all over this soon enough...

  • Reply 28 of 77
    drblankdrblank Posts: 3,383member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post



    Oh dear, so copying has its down side after all! Maybe the PC industry should design something unique to themselves and avoid this situation.


    Well, that's actually asking for too much.  A PC company designing something unique?  You mean they can design something original in the first place?  All they do is make WIndows clones.  They might have to stick with plastic or find another supplier to make em.

  • Reply 29 of 77
    drblankdrblank Posts: 3,383member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post


    I am waiting for someone to take Apple to court over this..... or Eric Holder's DoJ to be all over this soon enough...



    It's the supplier to meet contractual obligations, if they can't take on more business, then TOUGH NOOGIES.

  • Reply 30 of 77
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    jonorom wrote: »
    I suspect that getting access to a few CNC mills here and a few there is not the problem. Industrial-scale production and quality control of these cases probably requires hundreds of mills co-located, with very uniform and specific high-quality capabilities. This is what is not sitting around waiting for a modest order from HP that may suddenly become a large order.
    Apple has invested in barn-loads of these mills, probably buys dozens more every month, and has a near-perfect match between demand and production capacity.

    That's absolutely true.

    But it's not the machines or machine shops that are lacking. Rather, what is lacking is the foresight and effort from Apple's competitors to actually build a supply chain.

    Instead of building a supply chain like Apple did, they want to hop onboard the supply chain that Apple already built - and whine when they can't do so. Too bad.
  • Reply 31 of 77
    But everybody started on a level field. PC makers spent how long ZLAUGHING at Apple? Instead of getting their OWN money on the table.

    Appe bought the equipment THEMSELVES. Apple made deals with Foxconn to operate the equipment and do the quality work.

    There are other contract manufactures out there... But nobody was willing to PAY TGEM UP FRONT to build the factories needed.

    I say that because Apple didn't just "buy" their way into this. They put a lot of money on their contractors up front, in a recession (back in 08 when everybody else was firing), while being laughed at. they did WORK to make this happen. PC makers are used to Microsoft and Intel throwing in the bucks FOR them to tell the contractors what to make. While pitting contractors against each other for the lowest price with no partnership on the PC makers' parts.

    PC makers want Retnia displays or unibody chassis put 50% of the cash UP FRONT for a years run and somebody will jump on that. And raise your prices to Apple's levels to pay for it!
  • Reply 32 of 77
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    jragosta wrote: »
    Sorry, but I have years of experience with machined parts and you're wrong. At the level of tolerances needed for a laptop case, any competent machine ship with reasonably modern equipment can make suitable product. The differences from one shop to another should be less than the batch to batch variations within an individual shop.
    Apple has done an impressive job with the supply chain and has certainly worked with suppliers to standardize and streamline production, but any company buying millions of components can (and probably should) do the same thing.

    I don't have to have a career in CNC machines to understand how logistics and machinery works. I've even had issues with 3rd party parts that are little more than a ben piece of metal that were suppose to be compatible. What you suggest is simply impossible to do at the same costs with a variety of shops with various equipment spread across the globe.


    drblank wrote: »
    It's the supplier to meet contractual obligations, if they can't take on more business, then TOUGH NOOGIES.

    anantksundaram has a point. It's less common but I could see how one could make a claim that Apple has a monopsony, or has effectively set up exclusive dealings or a refusal to deal.

    mabhatter wrote: »
    But everybody started on a level field. PC makers spent how long ZLAUGHING at Apple? Instead of getting their OWN money on the table.

    Appe bought the equipment THEMSELVES. Apple made deals with Foxconn to operate the equipment and do the quality work.

    There are other contract manufactures out there... But nobody was willing to PAY TGEM UP FRONT to build the factories needed.

    I say that because Apple didn't just "buy" their way into this. They put a lot of money on their contractors up front, in a recession (back in 08 when everybody else was firing), while being laughed at. they did WORK to make this happen. PC makers are used to Microsoft and Intel throwing in the bucks FOR them to tell the contractors what to make. While pitting contractors against each other for the lowest price with no partnership on the PC makers' parts.

    PC makers want Retnia displays or unibody chassis put 50% of the cash UP FRONT for a years run and somebody will jump on that. And raise your prices to Apple's levels to pay for it!

    I hope alll that money that Apple saved and then strategically invested longterm projects like the unibody construction, displays, etc. are now looking like smart investments to the Vin Diesels of the corporate world that only run their business one quarter at a time.
  • Reply 33 of 77
    nagrommenagromme Posts: 2,834member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by alandail View Post


     


    You said "apple isn't locking anything up" then proceeded to explain just how they have managed to lock things up by effectively controlling a large percentage of the world's supply for the necessary equipment.  Not just now, but into the future.



     


     


    Not necessary unless you want to build your chassis the specific way Apple does, which they designed and executed years before anyone else, and which they legitimately NEED all the capacity for, to meet the demand Apple themselves generated. There are other ways to build a chassis that have been used for years, and there’s nothing stopping these companies from coming up with yet another new way, just like Apple did. There’s also nothing stopping them from being as smart as Tim Cook if they can manage it, or from making business decisions that give them the cash to generate additional capacity. Why should Apple have to fund all the equipment for everyone? More equipment could be made—just pay for it to happen. If those companies arent’ successful enough to buy equipment like Apple did, or fund risks well in advance, why should Apple subsidize their failure?


     


    Why should Apple create a new method at massive expense, risk, and R&D effort, have it be such a success that they’re selling every one they make, and then have to “give away” some of their sales to competition who decides they now want to do what Apple did, but without any of the upfront risk Apple undertook? Because if Apple did not “lock up” the capacity they need, that’s exactly what they’d be doing: removing Apple products from the shelves so that competitors could use Apple’s process instead.


     


    If Apple didn’t need all that capacity, then it would be pretty low for them to sit on it. But that’s not the case.

  • Reply 34 of 77
    nagrommenagromme Posts: 2,834member

    Something about this system makes me double-post... sorry.
  • Reply 35 of 77
    I would point out that Apple sells LESS than 10% of the PCs. Apple isn't even in the top 5 GLOBALLY. So what are the other makers doing with 90% of the capacity out there?
  • Reply 36 of 77
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    mabhatter wrote: »
    I would point out that Apple sells LESS than 10% of the PCs. Apple isn't even in the top 5 GLOBALLY. So what are the other makers doing with 90% of the capacity out there?

    Comparing Apple, as a vendor, to all other vendors isn't apropos here. Remember that Apple has a very small product line and that most of them are milled. Their competitors trying to do this are only doing it on their higher-end machines which sell in significantly fewer quantity than the cheap models with razor thin margins that prop up their market share numbers. I think it's possible that Apple's milled products far exceed the number of milled products from all other PC vendors combined.
  • Reply 37 of 77
    sockrolidsockrolid Posts: 2,788member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post



    Tuesday's report said that PC makers have begun building "ultra-like" notebooks, rather than laptops that meet Intel's "Ultrabook" specification, as Ultrabooks have suffered from "weak sales."


     


    Typical.  


     


    We're losing money making these expensive Ultrabooks.  What to do... What to do...


     


    Yes!  That's it!  Cut more corners!  PC buyers have been trained for generations to expect less!

  • Reply 38 of 77
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by jragosta View Post





    Those comments are nonsense. There is nothing magical about the CNC machines used to make computer cases. I am familiar with machine shops and could easily find 50 shops within a 20 mile radius of my home that can do it.


    Wouldn't you agree that having all 50 CNC machines under one roof, with a single management, would be orders of magnitude more efficient than making 50 phone calls to different managers and driving multiple trucks around a 20 mile radius to deliver raw materials and collect finished parts?


     


    Apple is not locking up capacity to make the cases. They have locked up all the profits by producing them with such high efficiency.

  • Reply 39 of 77
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    mstone wrote: »
    Wouldn't you agree that having all 50 CNC machines under one roof, with a single management, would be orders of magnitude more efficient than making 50 phone calls to different managers and driving multiple trucks around a 20 mile radius to deliver raw materials and collect finished parts?

    Of course it's more efficient. So what?

    Apple has gone to the trouble to build a supply chain that's efficient and its competitors have not. Why is it unfair for Apple to not let them piggy back on the supply chain that it has built? The competitors are free to go out and buy or rent a facility and 50 CNC machines and put them under the same roof. It's not Apple's fault that they're unable or unwilling to do so.
    solipsismx wrote: »
    I don't have to have a career in CNC machines to understand how logistics and machinery works. I've even had issues with 3rd party parts that are little more than a ben piece of metal that were suppose to be compatible. What you suggest is simply impossible to do at the same costs with a variety of shops with various equipment spread across the globe.

    You probably should have stopped with the bolded part.

    A decent shop has no problem following the dimensional drawings precisely enough that you wouldn't be able to tell the difference. If you're getting incompatibility with something as simple as a bent piece of metal, you need a new supplier.
  • Reply 40 of 77


    There will be plenty of CNC capacity for all once Apple moves their entire line to Liquidmetal enclosures.

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