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Did Apple's Grip on Touch Screens Hold Back PlayBook?

Published on April 7, 2011
by John Paczkowski

Research in Motion’s PlayBook tablet might have launched a month earlier were it not one thing: A shortage of touch-screen panels caused by the iPad.

Industry sources tell Taiwanese trade mag DigiTimes that “PlayBook shipments were postponed for about a month from the original schedule due to a delay in software testing as well as shortage of touch panels because Apple already booked up most of the available capacity.”

Certainly sounds plausible. Apple is rumored to have has locked up nearly 60 percent of the world’s touch-panel capacity, leaving behind scant supply for its rivals. Indeed, during the company’s first-quarter earnings call in January, COO Tim Cook said Apple had invested $3.9 billion to secure future component supplies in “an area we feel is very strategic.” He didn’t elaborate, but as I noted here at the time there’s a good chance he was talking about touch panels.

Just ask RIM.

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