Can Apple Do Without Imagination?

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While most of us were asleep Monday morning, U.K.-based Imagination Technologies Group said the Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) “is of a view” that the U.S. company won’t be using Imagination’s intellectual property (IP) in new products in 15 to 24 months. Imagination’s technology and IP have been used in iPhones, iPads, iPods, Apple TV and Apple Watch “for many years” Imagination said in a statement.

Imagination’s announcement sent the company’s stock plummeting, down by more than 70% at one point to a new 52-week low of £7.60. The stock had closed at £26.83 on Friday. Shares trade over the counter in the United States under the ticker symbol IGNMF and closed at $3.56 on Friday.

Imagination Technologies supplies Power VR graphics architecture and the graphics processing unit (GPU) for Apple products, and the London-traded company said that Apple “has asserted” that it is developing its own graphics design technology “in order to control its products” and that Apple will “be reducing its future reliance” on Imagination’s technology.

The British firm is not taking Apple’s declaration at face value, however:

Apple has not presented any evidence to substantiate its assertion that it will no longer require Imagination’s technology, without violating Imagination’s patents, intellectual property and confidential information. This evidence has been requested by Imagination but Apple has declined to provide it.

Further, Imagination believes that it would be extremely challenging to design a brand new GPU architecture from basics without infringing its intellectual property rights, accordingly Imagination does not accept Apple’s assertions.

Imagination has been struggling for profitability, and there were conversations between the company and Apple related to a possible acquisition by the U.S. giant, but the deal did not happen. Apple has owned about 10% of Imagination since 2009.

In London, Imagination shares traded at £10.24, in a 52-week range of £7.60 to £29.75. The 12-month consensus price target is £23.38.

Apple shares traded up about 0.1% in Monday’s premarket session, at $143.82 in a 52-week range of $89.47 to $144.50. The consensus price target on the stock is $146.76.