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Executives

Simon Biddiscombe – President and Chief Executive Officer

Jean Hu – Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Analysts

QLogic Corporation (QLGC) 2012 Citi Technology Conference Call September 5, 2012 3:45 PM ET

Unidentified Analyst

Thanks for your attendance today. We’re here with QLogic. We have President and CEO Simon Biddiscombe; we have the CFO Jean Hu. With us, three key quick housekeeping points. Format here is that fireside chat. We’ll keep the conversation going up here for 20 or so minutes and we’ll turn it out to the audience for question. If you do have a question, we ask that you raise your hand, wait for mike to reach you. Presentation is being webcast. We’d like you to wait for a mike, so that anybody listening on the webcast can hear your question also.

Second point is that there is some disclosures up with the front that we interviewed to take a look at and the third point, and Jean, here we are with the questions for her – set of questions for you. One thing I was hearing at this year’s conference is we have three kind of stock or regulatory question that we’re asking. We’re going to gather up fully to data and we’ll turn it out to focusing the audience and maybe you can get the sense of trends and priority. So, along this line, the three keys questions. The first is expectations for the back half of the year currently versus where you are? Back half versus first half, how things changed? How your expectations changed, seeing by the reversed?

Jean Hu

It’s about the same, but it’s overall microeconomic. It continues to be uncertain and weak, so it’s…

Simon Biddiscombe

I think specifically to us, I think coming into the year, we had an expectation around the launch of next-generation service based on next-generation processes from Intel much of which occurred in the June quarter. We thought we might see a bump in the activity levels in our business associated with those launches. I think as we sit here today it clearly there hasn’t been a bump of such and some of our major market partners have actually seen year-over-year declines in the business. So the other think we were looking for was growth that we did attribute to the next-generation service that really have at this point in time. It doesn’t mean it couldn’t play the remainder of year, just haven’t seen yet, okay.

Unidentified Analyst

And this might be a tougher question to answer, because I think you might shift to one location, but I can get your product and get deployed and your installation get deployed anywhere right I mean, but just in terms of geographies, do you have any sense or should we put that when side, we don’t really have visibility into…

Jean Hu

Yeah, we don’t right, because it’s a very much centric model where we shift to not necessarily with – and the destination will be.

Unidentified Analyst

Okay. So, last question centers on cash and what we’re trying to do is give a sense for company’s preference for cash usage. So, if there is four buckets of M&A, dividend, buyback or just keep the cash on the balance sheet Can you rank order your preferences there?

Jean Hu

Definitely the first one, we continue to try to look for investment opportunities on M&A side. But you got to have the discipline to do the right investment, and so for QLogic, if you look at our priority, we have been doing the buyback. So, buyback certainly is our rank of number one.

Unidentified Analyst

Yeah. Okay, and then M&A, second?

Jean Hu

M&A, we always looking for it, but it’s very uncertain, right. You never know if you can find the right opportunity and so far for us that we have been buy the lot of shares.

Unidentified Analyst

Okay, all right. So, on recent earnings call, I think you mentioned when the economies have a negative impact on service sales and therefore demand for HPAs, but hopefully this is the shorter-term dynamic, and maybe we can just talk about and talk about that a little bit. But can we talk a little bit about the longer-term outlook for Fibre Channel expense? So, I don’t think that anybody really calls out Fibre Channels as a particular growth market.

Simon Biddiscombe

Yeah.

Unidentified Analyst

But I think increasingly the fear that the raise in big data will cause a dramatic roll off in Fibre Channel. What are your thoughts around that? Is there a glide past that that we can negotiate our way through here?

Simon Biddiscombe

So I think – so let’s talk about the near-term dynamics, okay. So we’ve spend an extraordinary amount of time scratching our heads on how much of what we’re seeing at this point in time is attributable to macro and attributable to differences and related to market. So, traditional OEMs versus new OEMs were emerging in Taiwan and China. “And how much of it is a secular decline in the Fibre Channel market?” Okay, so I think a lot of what we’ve seen to-date, we are attributed into macro and specifically to macro and areas where some of the highest rates of Fibre Channel activity were such as financial services, such as government, okay.

So, the markets where Fibre Channel has historically enjoyed the greatest revenue streams have been some those that have been through the most difficulty from the macro perspective over the course of the last few quarter. So, we’ve been able to isolate what we believe is the part of the decline in the market is attributable to macro.

And we’ve spent an enormous amount of time then focused on secular decline, okay. And to your point, we’re not sitting here and telling you that Fibre Channels are growing of if we think that best case Fibre Channels are flat market over an extended number of years, and in reality it’s probably on a Diamond trajectory over an extended period of time.

And that’s why we’ve continued to invest aggressively in next-generation technologies, right. So we started our investments in 10-Gig Ethernet in 2006 when we start with our investments in 1-Gig (inaudible) based storage back in 2001. And we’re going to continue to invest aggressively across Ethernet based technologies as we move forward.

Having that basic Ethernet delivery mechanism is a critical part of how IC QLogic been able to continue to differentiate moving forward. So, we’ve seen an uptick in FCoE related activity and converged networks just over the course of the last 60 days or so. We’re seeing some fairly positive trends from some of our customers associated with that whether it ends up in sustained trend, only time will tell.

But just having yet another 10-Gig product in the market, ultimately is the delivery mechanism for what we believe will be incremental value that QLogic can bring to the table, predicated on the storage capabilities and predicated on some other technologies that we’ll talk about moving forward.

Unidentified Analyst

Okay. So, staying on the macro themes, couple of questions; what sort of impact you think current macro positions constrained IT budget for having on 8-Gig to 16-Gig Fibre Channel transition?

Simon Biddiscombe

At this point in time, all have been Romley qualifications. We’ve done that 8-Gig Fibre Channel. So the servers that people launched back in the April, May, June timeframe will all qualified with 8-Gig Fibre Channel, and 16-Gig Fibre Channel solutions will become available from ourselves and our competitors over the course of last six months or so. And 16-Gigs over the price premium associated with uptick, but people will have to work through an extended period. But the fact that all of that for the current server shipping was done with 8-Gig, and the reason that 80% plus and revenues were 8-Gig, and the other 20% are 4-Gig at this point in time. The 16-Gig market last quarter was something like 1,200 cards in total, so it’s just not relevant.

Unidentified Analyst

But even such as a risk as we haven’t been around if IT budgets are constrained at 16-Gig option in particular, so is this a headwind or…?

Simon Biddiscombe

Yeah, I think the cost associated with 16-Gig at this point and something of headwind. I don’t think 16-Gig becomes a significant technology until early to middle of next year.

Unidentified Analyst

Okay. And just a few minutes ago, you mentioned that you saw an uptick. In uptick rather in 10-Gig Fibre Channel over the Ethernet, I think you said on the last 30…

Simon Biddiscombe

Yeah, it’s interesting. It’s just a couple of anecdotal points that has come up in conversation with certain of our major customers where they’ve made the observation. They’ve seen an uptick in FCoE activities very specifically post Romley launch of things, and that was always part of our thesis. Part of our thesis was you really need 10-Gig infrastructure to be able to deliver on the value of FCoE, and you started to see 10-Gig infrastructure when you have the Romley processes and the service based on this processes in the market.

So, there seems to have been something of an uptick just as of late as people have started by Romley based service that seems to be something of an uptick in FCoE as well. We’ll wait and see how that place at over time. It’s still relatively small number as you imagine.

Unidentified Analyst

And I’ll ask this question, because we seem to be in kind of a macro dominated well, but 10-Gig Fibre Channel of Ethernet conversions after adoption will ramp of that concerns around – is that particularly exposed to macroeconomic headwinds paid IT budget, in a sense that in a tighter environment or customers in your experience they tend to stick with – what they have?

Simon Biddiscombe

To go a historical experience certain over the course of the last five years if the technology transitions unless they are dramatic in terms of what they can bring to the table tend to slow Diamond through tough macro period. We certainly saw that if you think about the 4-Gig to 8-Gig transition on the Fibre Channel side, we started shipping 8-Gig Fibre Channel in March of 2008 or so, and that was just before the in portion of late 2008 and we saw 8-Gig to take an extended period to reach 50% of the market, much longer than any previous like we have taken and I expect that when you look at things like FCoE, people tend to put those technologies to aside and focus on what they’re familiar with through tougher macro times – and that’s how I would experience with it.

Unidentified Analyst

And then just I know we’re jumping around a bit. But your products OpEx around the last transition in Fibre Channel and just a minutes ago you said that the OpEx persistent engage or still a problems in the cost perspective. What do you seeing on that, when do you think the price points kind of year-end?

Simon Biddiscombe

Yeah, I think as we look at the cost of goods for optical modules and there is two optical modules on dual-port adapter. If you look at the cost of goods associated with those two optical modules and the historical cost of goods probably at least a year away comparison between what I sell in 8-Gig, what an 8-Gig module is today, and what a 16-Gig module would be at today’s level essentially, it’s a way that...

Unidentified Analyst

So, when you talk about…

Simon Biddiscombe

That was in standard adapters, when we can look to blade environments, optical modules irrelevant, because the mezzanine target of optimism.

Unidentified Analyst

So, one thing that we can cross is when we look at anecdotally, when we done some checks on Fibre Channel over Ethernet capable plus switches, one thing that we’re hearing is that Ethernet is only a very small minority of the traffic going through that. I guess kind of the same question that one-to-one; I don’t know if you’ve seen that in your experience or if you have that data point, but what do you think that says about kind of adoption rates of Fibre Channel over Ethernet? And maybe the longer-term, how is the Fibre Channel, because if we’re not seeing this convergence when it’s there, it’s easier for they are sticking to their netting in Fibre Channel and what is that mean for Fibre Channel or Ethernet adoption?

Simon Biddiscombe

So, think about at this way. We introduced Fibre Channel or Ethernet products in 2008, okay. We started investing in 2006. We introduced products in 2008. And as industry we shipped more Fibre Channel last year than before. So, Fibre Channel market hasn’t eroded. In 2010 we shipped more than before. In 2011 we shipped more than before, okay. So, you’ve still got a robust Fibre Channel of it, even against the backdrop of the innovative Fibre Channel over the Ethernet technology.

So in the event that Fibre Channel over Ethernet does not take off it, the rates people expected to and to be frank, it hasn’t taken off, at the rates people expected it to, then we would expect to see longevity of Fibre Channel, and I think that’s been demonstrated over the course of the last couple years, by the fact we’re shipping record numbers of course.

Unidentified Analyst

And what it mean for Fibre Channel or Ethernet, does that data point if it’s correct I mean do you think it’s correct. It’s the data point that we having it. Does that…

Simon Biddiscombe

So, the data point is that, people are using FCoE adapters, when we’re moving Ethernet traffic, right. Is that will the data point?

Unidentified Analyst

The data point that people were using FCoE or primarily moving FC, not Ethernet?

Simon Biddiscombe

Sure, which is exactly what we would expect, what we’re doing, right, because in the cost point on an FCoE solution, it’s higher than the cost point on an Ethernet solution.

Unidentified Analyst

Okay.

Simon Biddiscombe

So, if you’re buying an FCoE adapter, you better be running storage on it, otherwise go buy…

Unidentified Analyst

Right.

Simon Biddiscombe

So the conversion is really large.

Unidentified Analyst

Okay. So, let’s go back to talk about Romley. I think we saw some details in Romley being released and seem so uptick. Did you have significant backlog in the quarter related to Romley?

Simon Biddiscombe

Our business doesn’t really work that way.

Unidentified Analyst

Okay.

Simon Biddiscombe

The way we fulfill the market that we serve is through hubs, so with each of our major manufacturing partners HP, IBM, Dell, Oracle. We have products that physically located next to their manufacturing facility. They will build a server they’ll pulley adapter, pulley adapter and no shipping, so we don’t ever see significant inventory of such…

Unidentified Analyst

So, it’s right around to inventory…

Simon Biddiscombe

It’s essentially event management inventory helps. That’s right.

Unidentified Analyst

Okay.

Simon Biddiscombe

And we will put it in the very last second, put it in the server and ship it, right. So at any point in time, my major customers are holding minimal amounts of inventory like distribution partners are holding minimal amount of inventory. And you can create a clean channel, in fact I think the QLogic channel if you will is about just clean as any technology company in term of the moment I ship a product to the moment, the customer ships the product and where revenues are recognized and so it’s clean, it could be.

Unidentified Analyst

Okay. So, I think one thing that Intel said about Romley and so do you see the biggest adoption rates and high performance and see the environment. And if I understand it correctly, I think HPC generally is heading towards InfiniBand. What does that mean for your business?

Simon Biddiscombe

So we’re having the InfiniBand business. We had both InfiniBand host business and InfiniBand switch business. And we actually choose to sell those businesses to Intel at the beginning of this year. We sold them for a number of reasons, the first and foremost we wanted to remain close to focus on the data centers possible, and we continue to believe that within the data center enterprise and converged in Fibre Channel technologies for Ethernet networks.

And for Fibre Channel networks are going to continue to be the protocols and chips. So we wanted to make sure that we were appropriately scaled and investing in that set of opportunities, okay. The costs associated with investing in InfiniBand are not in significant in themselves. You’ve got to bring host silicon and switch silicon to market and then you have to bring the complete solutions that are based on those technologies as well.

So recognizing that the HPC market continues to be something of niche and recognizing that our market share was significantly lower than the incumbent, dominant participant in the market, recognizing that the cost of investment are very significant, we decided that the right thing to do, just to sell our business to Intel in the first quarter of this year for $125 million and I haven’t looked back regret at that ones.

Unidentified Analyst

So do you think there about Romley adoption work when you phrase a questions like what do you think will be the catalyst for Romley adoption moving out beyond time-to-time, and do you have a sense for…

Simon Biddiscombe

Unless it was the (inaudible) you have to believe system that Romley capabilities in the service based on Romley processes capabilities are significantly differentiated from the last generation of technologies that you’re willing to pay the premium that comes along with them and only time will get end-users to appoint that they willing to make that decision.

Unidentified Analyst

And when we think about Romley and the (inaudible) the eventual impact on your business, should we think about it driving demand more persistent-Gig Fibre Channel or more for the converged switch?

Simon Biddiscombe

It’s more 10-Gig Ethernet generally.

Unidentified Analyst

Okay.

Simon Biddiscombe

So really Romley was first that the service based on the Romley processes with the first set of service that had through 10-Gig connectivity and typically it was deployed to a donor card, so instead of having a chips all with them that showed a very small donor card that has a 10-Gig connectivity associate with it. In that 10-Gig connectivity, given that it’s donor card you can actually have some choice over this and so end-user can choose where they wanted the QLogic Solution or an Intel Solution or Broadcom Solution or what other ultimate one. So end-users could even choose the 10-Gig connectivity they had and if they had storage requirement associated with it, maybe they will choose QLogic, they didn’t, may be they choose Intel or Broadcom, right. So for us, Romley was really a worth of 10-Gig as the principals server connectivity.

Unidentified Analyst

Okay. And Jean, maybe couple of questions for you. I think you mentioned that if you revenues remain, I can say that easily and if revenues remain around $120 million revenue level that you would rethink your current cost structure and can you give us little bit more color on in terms of how much time you’re going to give this kind of $120 million revenue number to develop and maybe what working with analytic thought on that would be?

Jean Hu

Yeah, just recapture a little bit, right I think during our last earnings call, we got asked question about this revenue and operating expenses of the question. At that time, what we said is we have chosen to make R&D investment and continue to invent in R&D to have a future revenue growth. So, really even thought we guided revenue in the kind of quarter of that we have now intention to reduce our R&D, which is really that the future revenue growth that’s the engine where you can get innovative product or aggressively manages sales and marketing and G&A cost.

And then really what we said during the call basically is in the longer-term, the revenue really does not come up as a goal, as what we are supporting that to grow the revenue. Now, we look at R&D side and look at the overall operating expense side to the size of the spending side. But for now frankly, what we think is really it’s micro weakness and that’s impact the top line revenue right now. So we’re going to continue to invest on R&D side and managing SG&A cost. We think revenue will come back with the macro situation improve.

Unidentified Analyst

Okay. So, if I’m hearing correctly, you’re viewing the current kind of weaknesses as macro related…

Jean Hu

Absolutely.

Unidentified Analyst

You are thinking about the business getting back to $120 million floor level, or level that you’ll keep the current…

Jean Hu

Yeah.

Unidentified Analyst

But what sort of timeframe, when macro can last for long time. So I guess what we’re trying to get a sense and not draw line in the sand, but is it a couple of quarters a year or more than a year, help us kind of think about…

Jean Hu

Yeah, if you look at the right, the revenue for last quarter we did this $130 million right. And so for the June quarter, it’s pretty good too. It’s only the September quarter we guided it on to 170 million meter range, kind of a guidance. So that’s where we got (inaudible) it’s the kind of macro weakness and also some of our key customers, the challenges they face. But going forward, right there is nothing we can see right now really will continue or have our regular seasonality with our business. So we don’t think if there is any in show there, that’s why we continue to confident about our investment and future revenue growth.

Unidentified Analyst

Okay, perfect. Maybe we’ll take the opportunity if there is any question from the audience.

Question-and-Answer Session

Unidentified Analyst

Hi, could you discuss your converged network controller business? And how that’s going and where you seeing that fitting in and your customers are there?

Simon Biddiscombe

The converged network…

Jean Hu

8200 Series – that’s the approach where i/o solution…

Simon Biddiscombe

No, I would characterize a slight different, so 8200 and 8300 Series converged network that is bringing together the best of all the protocols, right. So, it can run FC, FCoE, iSCSI, pure Ethernet, okay. So those solutions in various different form factors have made in the market for four years. The next-generation of those products will be production released imminently. Every customer who has been a customer for the historic solutions, we will be a customer for the new solutions, because it brings the QLogic stuff respect to market and if you’re in 8-Gig Fibre Channel customer for QLogic (inaudible) there going to be a 16-Gig Fibre Channel customer for QLogic.

We used to have our management tools. We used the way we process Fibre Channel and we used to the robustness of the solution you get from us, okay. So as I look all of the solutions that we’re bring into market, I would expect that every OEM will qualify my solutions for Fibre Channel for FCoE and ultimately for Ethernet based technology as well. And then we will enable those OEMs with next-generation solutions moving forward. As we said again, I expect every OEM to ship QLogic solutions to FC, FCoE and Ethernet, and that’s the goal and well ahead with all the qualification processes associated with those we had.

Unidentified Analyst

And I don’t know if I could take on why InfiniBand can’t or won’t become more prevalent within the data center, because (inaudible) it’s being used more and more use cases, used within enterprise network, enterprise storage et cetera and main thing there is some protocols I make it, so that you can’t really use it.

Simon Biddiscombe

So the answer is Ethernet, right. It’s not, but it couldn’t be. It’s the fact enterprise data center is full of Ethernet based technologies and as we move from 1-Gig to 10-Gig, to 14-Gig to 100-Gig Ethernet, and as solutions come to market that have very low latents and characteristic associates with moving data through the pipes. You can get to a point where you can have InfiniBand like performance. We’d like the Ethernet of all the existing Ethernet infrastructure. There is a massive amount of Ethernet infrastructure across the globe.

And to think that you’re going to arbitrarily (inaudible) and replace it within InfiniBand is I would suggest little full how you read. I think the right answer is first pacific niche, use cases for InfiniBand within the enterprise data center. So like Isilon for scale at EMC’s Isilon for scale (inaudible) that used to QLogic InfiniBand, part of it used QLogic InfiniBand. And I do see use cases such as those where within a box InfiniBand is used, (inaudible) still need Ethernet pipe, okay, all it was Oracle’s x-date another great example.

InfiniBand within the rack tried Ethernet pipe at the back, okay. So, it’s just a question of how many of those use cases are going to exist and where is – one of this Ethernet good enough within those use cases. This is InfiniBand that it exists today, when will latency rates in the bandwidth to the Ethernet to be adequate that usable flip forming InfiniBand to Ethernet and to what extent over an extended period of time and InfiniBand identified the use cases essentially, right. So I still see it’s been primarily on niche technology and we invested in it. We don’t have anything against the technology. We just think it’s a niche technology and we think that Ethernet is going to be pervasive and we’re going to choose to invest the best with Ethernet.

Unidentified Analyst

Anymore questions from the floor, any follow-up? Jean, maybe a couple more question to you. On the M&A and this result a few because really it’s M&A strategy. From where we start to see, what kind of M&A opportunities are out there? Can you maybe walk us through the M&A strategy in terms of what sort of opportunities you don’t think is still out there, because I think you’re in a fairly validated industry, and should we think about this is being more kind of technology tuck ins? And along with that any sort of hurdles that you have in terms of you like the deal to be accretive in X amount of time, or that not the right way to think about it doing technology?

Simon Biddiscombe

Yeah, so to answer that second question, you answer that yourself. That’s not the right way to think about it. From a technology perspective, although we’ve always as a company being very disciplined even in that regard, so if you look at what we’ve done over the course of the last to call it seven or eight years, we’ve bought a 10-Gig Ethernet company, the cost is less than 20 million bucks and we bought between InfiniBand businesses that we subsequently sold to Intel and they cost us $150 million, whatever the number was in case. So anything we’ve done has historically been small and tended to be having technology tuck in nature, okay.

I’m always looking for ways to accelerate time to market. I’m always looking for ways to bring complementary technologies to the portfolios. I think this to-date to your point, there’s not a long list of those that we would wish to go and enter into it at any point in time. But we always looking, we always looking and the salary time to market and will it drive forward a more compelling solution to my OEM customers and ultimately to end users and that’s typically about the technologies available and how do we go secure those technologies. But to you point, no gaps in the portfolios we see today. We don’t feel is it a gap, so we desperately have to go and fill. We’re very comfortable with the portfolio today.

Unidentified Analyst

And just one follow-up on that and then we’ll see if there is additional questions in the floor. I guess, can you give us some context around again in terms of the opportunities, I mean, should we think about is that this potential for lists out to say assistance companies, where there is a talented design team that they really don’t have a home there anymore or is this – do you see more couple of guys go and start – I’m just trying to get a sense for what these acquisition targets could look like?

Simon Biddiscombe

They could be smaller size startups.

Unidentified Analyst

Yeah.

Simon Biddiscombe

And there is handful of both still exists. I don’t necessarily feel a rush go and do anything in that regard, but there is still some 10-Gig companies that still exist, right. A lot of them are already disappeared, but there are still some with the right thing. As I said I don’t feel of rush to go and do anything like that at this point in time.

There are teams that exist, that can brings certain sets of capabilities to QLogic. That can expand the opportunity and can expand the technical capabilities that exist internally as well. But they’re not interchanging if you will that typically incremental steps in the right direction as opposed to the singles and doubles as opposed to (inaudible) right, and that’s how we run the business. We run the business on a singles and doubles kind of strategy as opposed to I’m going to hit for the fence and maybe got one every 10 times if look at how historically run this company singles and doubles.

Unidentified Analyst

Okay. So, now the opportunity for questions from the floor; okay, we have a follow-up.

Unidentified Analyst

Yeah. Maybe you can help me in terms of understanding a little bit more about virtualized of i/o being there, if they had a bit of virtual servers or virtualization medium, you need to have virtualized i/o or (inaudible) though, which is seems to be in a virtual appliance, but I understand there is an adapter card, is that not to 8200, 8300…?

Simon Biddiscombe

Yeah, actually so I’m not going to talk about specifically what’s in that box, but if I use to say that leverage is Fibre Channel technologies, okay. I actually look at slightly and forget the plans of Oracle bought.

Unidentified Analyst

Yeah.

Simon Biddiscombe

Look at it at a higher level, okay. But then the adapter we sell today is a virtual to make essentially, okay. So, you can take any individual adapter and partition into a multiple adapters, okay. And the same as applied across other aspects of what we’ve done as a company on the switch side as well such that.

Jean Hu

But then you have to assign each virtual machine or certain channel on the adapter now.

Simon Biddiscombe

You could, it depends in which way you committed, you can actually commit it from both sides. So you can assign each virtual machine a channel, or I’m going to get this wrong. You’re going to assign channels to pull through virtual machines. We can take it off-line.

Jean Hu

Okay.

Simon Biddiscombe

We can take it off-line.

Jean Hu

Yeah, okay.

Unidentified Analyst

Do you have any additional questions from the floor? Okay, so with that, I think we’re actually out of time. Simon and Jean, we appreciate your participation…

Simon Biddiscombe

Thank you.

Jean Hu

Yeah.

Unidentified Analyst

…at the conference.

Simon Biddiscombe

Excellent. Thank you.

Jean Hu

Thank you.

Unidentified Analyst

Thanks. Thanks guys.

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