If Corning weren't concerned, they wouldn't be running comparisons
All substances have relative strengths and weaknesses. There can be no fundamental argument about the differences in properties between glass and sapphire. The latter is considerably more scratch resistant and is a much harder are more durable material. For comparable thicknesses, sapphire is a hands down winner. It cost more for sapphire currently, but it is a superior material. Were there not a cost differential, there would not even be a reason to screw around with comparisons.
History is replete with giants who did not fear the smaller upstarts. Goliath did not fear David. Microsoft did not fear Apple, the horse trader didn't fear Henry Ford. You get the point...
-Hyperion ion, if developed, can produce sapphire cutting glass at the identical cost of gorilla glass at 3 bucks without major oem support. If this tech is for real and developed, Corning and gorilla glass is dead in cell phones. The way it is now, with OEM support, GTAT can get down to around $10-$15/ unit with oem support without the ion mainstream. Ion changes everything.
GTAT is not going to overtake GLW in terms of revenue. The best case scenario for GTAT is that the point of sale market takes off. They keep a good amount of the led market. For cell phones they get some high end models and maybe get some incorporation with GG for mainstream phones. That would be huge for GTAT. On the solar front, getting more contracts from companies with stronger balance sheets outside of china. If this happened over the next couple of years, we are sitting on a goldmine.
If GTAT represented too much of a threat to GLW, GLW would use some of its huge cash hoard to buy out GTAT. My guess is that GLW would have to pay a huge premium for it, but if we threatened GLW would pony up the cash.
Just like ENPH is a superior product for micro inverters, for solar generation, Sapphire is a better product here. Costs will come down for Sapphire, and Corning will have to re invent like Kodak or IBM to survive
Corning will survive regardless. It will also not sit down with its hands folded while a major market is swiped. GLW could easily buy GTAT without any trouble at all. At this point, the company doesn't represent much of a threat. If that changes, GLW buys out GTAT.
Unfortunately, you chose to use an example that is predicated on the falsehood that ENPH microinverters are superior, which they are not, as we have discussed over on the PWER board. ENPH is a one-trick, undiversified pony that will either be gobbled up or snuffed out. No way ENPH can remain afloat on their own for very long. Your point about sapphire being a superior product is valid, however.