Earlier today, GT Advanced officially announced a settlement agreement with Apple under which GT will wind down sapphire materials production and exit from the market as a producer of sapphire materials. The company will refocus its business as an equipment supplier, manufacturing and developing sapphire growth systems and processes. According to the agreement, GT has four years without interest to pay Apple back $439 million, solely from a portion of the proceeds from ASF (Advanced Sapphire Furnace) sales.
"Apple put a lot of effort into an ambitious new sapphire manufacturing process with GTAT which is not ready for production", an Apple spokesperson told Re/code. "We’re going to continue evaluating GTAT’s progress on larger sapphire boule development, as well as consider other options for the facility. We remain committed to the city and we’re going to work with Mesa and Maricopa County to help the GT Advanced employees who will be impacted by this find new jobs."