Apple Slowdown Threatens Global Supplier Web

Company’s network of at least 247 suppliers now vulnerable.

Apple Inc.’s slowing sales are rippling through a supplier network that has long benefited from the company’s ability to churn out iPhones and iPads.

Cirrus Logic Inc., a maker of audio chips that gets 91 percent of its sales from Apple, this week reported an inventory glut that suggested slowing iPhone sales, and forecast fiscal first-quarter revenue below analysts’ estimates. Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., Apple’s top supplier, this month posted its biggest revenue decline in at least 13 years, indicating slower sales of smartphones, tablets and computers.

Supply Chain

Apple may not introduce a new product until its developers conference, usually held in June, and the stock may slump further unless the company meets the high end of analysts’ profit and revenue projections when it reports earnings next week, according to Andy Hargreaves, an analyst at Pacific Crest Securities LLC.

Crystal Ball

“All we can really do is take the forecast that our customers give us, which do go out a good long ways,” Jason Rhode, Cirrus’s chief executive officer, said on a conference call in January, when asked by an analyst about the company’s ability to forecast sales.

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