Apple infuses Finisar with $390 million

Apple Inc. is investing $350 million into a California-based company that produces optical communication components, which will boost the power of iPhone X features such as Face ID, Animoji and portrait mode selfies.

Finisar, the latest recipient of Apple’s $1 billion Advanced Manufacturing Fund, will increase its R&D spending and production of vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers (VCSELs), Apple announced today. The company is known for creating products that enable high-speed voice, video and data communications for various networking and cable TV applications. Its Canadian channel partners can be found in Ontario and Quebec.

Apple’s first investment was a $200 million boost into Corning Inc., the makers of Gorilla Glass, in May.

“VCSELs power some of the most sophisticated technology we’ve ever developed and we’re thrilled to partner with Finisar over the next several years to push the boundaries of VCSEL technology and the applications they enable,” said Jeff Williams, Apple’s chief operating officer in a statement.

Apple is also reporting that in the fourth quarter of this year, it will purchase 10 times more VCSELs than previously manufactured worldwide over a similar time period.

The investment will allow Finisar to turn a dormant 700,000 square-foot manufacturing plant in Sherman, Texas into the primary hub for VCSEL production. Apple says the investment will create more than 500 jobs.

All of the VCSELs Apple buys from Finisar will be made in Texas.

As of Wednesday morning, Finisar’s shares rose more than 30 per cent to $25.12.

Product shipping is expected to begin in the second half of 2018.

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Alex Coop
Former Editorial Director for IT World Canada and its sister publications.

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