Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks with members of the media after a product announcement in Cupertino, California, U.S., on Thursday, Oct. 16, 2014.
Noah Berger—Bloomberg / Getty Images
By Fortune / Philip Elmer-DeWitt
November 13, 2014

If there’s one thing we’ve learned from the bankruptcy of GT Advanced Technologies it’s that Apple under Tim Cook bargains just as hard as it did when Steve Jobs was alive.

“Put on your big boy pants and accept the agreement,” an Apple executive reportedly told GT when the New Hamphire-based sapphire supplier resisted what COO Daniel Squiller describes as Cupertino’s “massively one-sided” terms.

If those terms were one-sided — and when Squiller spells them out they certainly look that way — it’s not just because Apple is big and GT small.

Apple’s strength at the bargaining table — its leverage — comes from a deeper place. It was evident in 2003, when a smaller and much weaker Apple talked the five major record labels into selling music a la carte on iTunes for $0.99 a song. As Stratechery‘s Ben Thompson explained last week:

Thompson’s article is a brilliant companion piece to Squiller’s bitter declaration. Both open up a black box that Apple works hard to keep locked.

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