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Bloomberg: ‘Apple in Talks to Buy Cobalt Directly From Miners’

Jack Farchy and Mark Gurman, reporting for Bloomberg:

Apple Inc. is in talks to buy long-term supplies of cobalt directly from miners for the first time, according to people familiar with the matter, seeking to ensure it will have enough of the key battery ingredient amid industry fears of a shortage driven by the electric vehicle boom.

The iPhone maker is one of the world’s largest end users of cobalt for the batteries in its gadgets, but until now it has left the business of buying the metal to the companies that make its batteries.

I am assuming this just means Apple is buying out/taking over an existing cobalt brokerage or two, just to have total control over the whole process, as opposed to sending Jeff Williams out to the mines with suitcases full of cash.

But this idea feels very Apple-y: one of the keys of the Cook/Williams operational success has been staying a few years ahead of the curve for in-demand resources, like the deal they made to secure an ample supply of flash storage back in 2005, which they announced just weeks after Apple unveiled the first iPod that used flash storage instead of a hard drive.

Wednesday, 21 February 2018