Apple and sapphire producer GT Advanced Technologies officially part ways

After a multi-million dollar deal to produce sapphire crystal only for Apple, GT Advanced Technologies (GTA)¬†can do business with anyone it wants. Unfortunately, that’s because¬†the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last month and Apple is releasing it from its exclusivity obligations, reports Reuters.

sapphire glass screenshot

The two companies have reached a settlement that will allow [company]Apple[/company] to recoup $439 million that it prepaid to GTA. In a statement, GTA said it has four years to repay Apple, and can do so without interest. The company will shift from sapphire crystal production to “refocus its business as an equipment supplier, manufacturing and developing sapphire growth systems and processes.”

For Apple, this is a rare, but very public, supplier issue. Apple has long been considered a company that is masterful at supply chain strategies. The initial deal with GTA looked no different at first — another relationship with a producer of a needed component, in this case sapphire screens. Now it simply looks like a good deal gone bad in a very short time.