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Wed, Feb. 10, 3:08 PM
- ARM (NASDAQ:ARMH) is selling off after posting mixed Q4 results - revenue of $407.9M (+14% Y/Y) beat a $398.1M consensus, while EPS of $0.365 missed a $0.38 consensus.
- As usual, ARM didn't issue precise sales guidance: The CPU/GPU core developer only said it expects 2016 revenue to be "broadly in line with market expectations." Consensus is for revenue to rise 12% in 2016 to $1.67B.
- ARM: "Chips based on ARMv8-A [64-bit] technology are expected to continue to gain share in mobile and enterprise markets ... Increased economic uncertainty may influence consumer and enterprise spending, potentially impacting semiconductor revenues and industry confidence ... During  ARMv8-A surpassed 50% share of smartphone shipments, Mali became the industry’s highest-shipping GPU architecture, and our Partners increased their shipments into enterprise infrastructure and embedded markets."
- Fueling the Q4 sales beat: Royalty revenue rose 31% Y/Y to $216.7M, aided by growing shipments of chips with multiple and/or 64-bit ARM cores (they carry higher royalty rates). Mali GPU/video processor core growth also contributed.
- On the other hand, tech licensing revenue fell 2% to $158.5M - ARM attributes the drop to a cyclical lull between the signing of 20nm process licenses and upcoming 10nm/7nm signings. 51 processor licenses were signed, down from 53 a year ago. Software/tools revenue rose 19% to $17.3M; services revenue rose 1% to $15.4M.
- Shipments of ARM-based chips rose 16% to 4B, aided by microcontroller and mobile growth. For the whole of 2015, ARM estimates its IP was in 14.8B of the 46.5B chips shipped globally, with 6B of the ARM-based chips in mobile devices and over 5B in "embedded intelligence" applications. Industry chip shipments are expected to rise to 71B in 2020.
- ARM's board recommends a final dividend of 5.63 pence/share, up 25% Y/Y. Provided shareholders approve, the final dividend will be paid on May 13 to shareholders on record as of April 22. ARM plans to continue growing its dividend "in line with the growth of the business."
- ARM's earnings release, slides (.pdf)
Wed, Feb. 10, 6:11 AM
Tue, Feb. 9, 5:30 PM
Mon, Feb. 8, 12:29 PM
- Chipmakers NXP (NXPI -9.3%) and STMicroelectronics (STM -5.6%), CPU/GPU core developer ARM (ARMH -5.5%), and ad tech firm Criteo (CRTO -9%) are down sharply after European indices closed with big losses. France's CAC-40 fell 3.4%, Germany's DAX 3.3%, and the Euro Stoxx 50 3.3%. The Nasdaq is down 2.1%, and the S&P 1.8%.
- NXP has more than given back the Thursday gains seen after the company posted a Q4 beat and issued in-line Q1 guidance. Today's losses come in spite of an OTR Global note stating NXP could gain NFC chip share with Samsung's Galaxy S7 relative to the S6; the S6 heavily relied on Samsung NFC radios.
- STMicro is two weeks removed from announcing (with its Q4 report) job cuts and plans to discontinue set-top/home gateway chip R&D. ARM and Criteo report on Wednesday morning.
Mon, Feb. 8, 9:19 AM
Wed, Feb. 3, 11:13 AM
- Bloomberg reports Google (GOOG, GOOGL) is "planning to publicly give its support" for Qualcomm's (QCOM +1.4%) first ARM (ARMH +2.2%) server CPUs at an investor event next week. It adds Google and Qualcomm have cooperated on design work, and that the former will commit to using the latter's chips if they meet performance goals.
- Google is the world's biggest server buyer, and has largely relied on Intel's (INTC -4.1%) Xeon CPUs. The Web giant's adoption of Qualcomm processors, even if for only a fraction of its workload, would act as a major reference win for the fledgling ARM server CPU market. There has been speculation Amazon might also adopt ARM server CPUs, following its acquisition of chip startup Annapurna Labs (recently unveiled a line of low-end network processors).
- Qualcomm is just four months removed from showing off a prototype ARM server CPU featuring custom cores. The company has been hoping the server market will provide a long-term sales lift as it continues dealing with mobile pressures - Qualcomm's chip division (QCT) sales fell 22% Y/Y in calendar Q4 to $4.1B.
- Intel has been hoping to keep Google and other major Web/cloud clients loyal in part by providing custom Xeon CPUs, and by creating products that place Xeon chips and recently-acquired Altera's FPGAs (can be programmed on the fly to handle new algorithms/code) in the same package. Qualcomm has partnered with Altera archrival Xilinx.
- Qualcomm and ARM are higher in spite of a 1.6% Nasdaq drop. Intel is underperforming; shares are down 3.3% after accounting for the fact Intel is trading ex-dividend.
Wed, Feb. 3, 9:19 AM
Wed, Jan. 20, 1:35 PM
- ARM Holdings (ARMH -1%) has released a new 4k-capable GPU core, the ARM Mali DP650. (PR)
- ARM exec Mark Dickinson: “The Mali-DP650 display processor will enable mobile screens with multiple composition layers, for graphics and video, at Full HD (1920x1080 pixels) resolutions and beyond while maintaining excellent picture quality and extending battery life.”
- The processor also promises “higher memory system latency tolerance” than its predecessor, the Mali-DP550.
- The display processor is optimized for WQXGA (2560X1600) and WQHD (2560x1440) resolutions commonly used on tablets and mobile devices.
Wed, Jan. 6, 5:52 PM
- Amazon's (NASDAQ:AMZN) Annapurna Labs chip unit, acquired a year ago for a reported $350M, has unveiled (amid CES) a set of 32-bit and 64-bit ARM-based (NASDAQ:ARMH) processors for home gateways, Wi-Fi routers, and NAS storage appliances, along with related subsystems.
- The chips, to be sold under the Alpine label, target a low-end networking/storage processor market in which Marvell (NASDAQ:MRVL), Cavium (NASDAQ:CAVM), Intel (NASDAQ:INTC), and Broadcom (NASDAQ:BRCM) are notable players. Annapurna suggests the Alpine line will be differentiated in part by offering superior general-purpose computing power, thus allowing it to support more higher-level services. It also promises Alpine will support 4K video streaming 10G Ethernet and PCIe Gen3 connectivity, low power consumption, and enterprise-class reliability.
- Asus and Netgear plan to use Alpine. To date, Amazon has been tight-lipped about its plans for Annapurna. There has been speculation the Israeli chipmaker will develop low-power ARM server CPUs that will go into AWS' data centers. For now, AWS continues relying on Intel's x86 server CPUs.
- Earlier: AWS cuts cloud computing prices; Rackspace sells off
Dec. 15, 2015, 7:09 PM
- GPU core developer Imagination Technologies (OTCPK:IGNMF) fell 7.8% in London today after reporting revenue of £71.1M ($106.7M, -14% Y/Y) for the May-October timeframe, and an op. loss of £7.3M ($11.1M) vs. an op. profit of £5M ($7.5M) a year ago. Both licensing and royalty revenue fell. (earnings release - .pdf)
- Imagination, which counts Apple (A-series processors), Samsung (Exynos processors), and Intel (Atom processors) among its clients, also used its earnings report to forecast its FY16 (ends April '16) op. profit will be below consensus (currently at £14.1M, per Thomson Reuters).
- CEO Hossein Yassaie blamed the numbers on weakness in both the semi industry in general and the mobile phone market in particular. "Partly it is China, but also generally phones are now good enough that people do not upgrade them as quickly as they used to." IDC has forecast smartphone shipments will grow a moderate 9.8% in 2015 to 1.43B.
- ARM (NASDAQ:ARMH), whose Mali GPU cores serve as the biggest rival for Imagination's PowerVR GPU cores (and have taken some share from Imagination), fell a modest 0.4% on a day the Nasdaq rose 0.9%.
- In addition to Imagination's report, the day saw U.K. power management chipmaker Dialog Semi (gets over half its revenue from Apple) issue a Q4 warning. Qualcomm was more positive, stating it expects calendar Q4 EPS to be "at or modestly above" the high end of prior guidance due to cost cuts and favorable 3G/4G device shipment and ASP trends.
Dec. 7, 2015, 2:05 PM
- "We expect revenue growth to slow from an 18% over the last 5 years to an 8% – 12% CAGR over the next 5 years," writes Northland Securities' Gus Richard, downgrading ARM (ARMH -2.6%) to Market Perform and setting a $52 target.
- Only 7% license revenue growth is expected next year in spite of the arrival of a new 64-bit CPU core architecture, and also sees slower royalty growth in 2016 due to high smartphone penetration rates for ARM's 64-bit v8 architecture (carries higher royalties).
- Richard: "We estimate that in Q4:CY15 70%-80% of smartphones will be based on v8 processors ... Further, we estimate that 60% of ARM’s royalties comes from the cellphone market and other markets are smaller and will shift [to v8] at a much slower pace ... While we see continued growth of royalties in CY16 driven by Mali (graphics) and an increasing use of 8-core, royalty growth peaked in CY15."
- He's also cautious about ARM server CPUs, expecting them to have only 3%-5% of the 2020 server market in terms of revenue. ARM is off on a day the Nasdaq is down 0.8%.
Nov. 6, 2015, 5:38 PM
Oct. 22, 2015, 12:24 PM
- The Philadelphia Semi Index (SOXX +3%) has risen above $90 for the first time since July on a day the Nasdaq is up 1.5%. Helping out: Texas Instruments (TXN +10.4%) soundly beat Q3 estimates, reported positive growth for its analog and embedded processing (DSP/microcontroller) units in spite of a customer inventory correction, and (with the help of iPhone content gains) provided mostly above-consensus Q4 guidance.
- Meanwhile, Cypress Semi (up 4.1%) is rallying in spite of posting mixed Q3 results and issuing light Q4 guidance. A new $450M buyback is helping.
- TI/Cypress microcontroller peers NXP (NXPI +4.2%), Freescale (FSL +3.5%), STMicroelectronics (STM +2.5%), and Microchip (MCHP +2.9%) are among the gainers. As are TI analog/mixed-signal peers ON Semi (ON +5%), Intersil (ISIL +3.2%), IDT (IDTI +3.6%), Monolithic (MPWR +3.3%), and Silicon Labs (SLAB +2.6%).
- Other notable gainers include InvenSense (INVN +2.6%), Nvidia (NVDA +3.5%), Cavium (CAVM +4.4%), Knowles (KN +3.6%), and Lattice Semi (LSCC +7%).
- On its earnings call (transcript), TI mentioned automotive chip demand (boosted by growing chip content in various systems) was strong. Industrial sales were roughly flat (better than expected), and personal electronics benefited from "demand from one customer" (likely Apple). Wireless infrastructure fell 30% Y/Y (Chinese weakness), but rose Q/Q.
- Chip stocks also outperformed yesterday after Western Digital announced it's buying SanDisk, Lam Research announced it's buying KLA-Tencor, and CPU core giant ARM (ARMH +2.7%) beat Q3 revenue estimates (EPS slightly missed) with the help of a 20% Y/Y increase in ARM chip shipments to 3.6B, and stated it expects 2015 revenue to be in-line with market expectations.
- Chip ETFs: SMH, XSD, PSI, SOXL, USD, SOXS, SSG
Oct. 21, 2015, 9:15 AM
Oct. 21, 2015, 6:30 AM
- ARM Holdings (NASDAQ:ARMH): Q3 EPS of $0.35 misses by $0.01.
- Revenue of $375.5M (+17.3% Y/Y) beats by $2.68M.
- Shares +7.13% PM.
Oct. 20, 2015, 7:12 PM
- Ahead of Wednesday morning's Q3 report, ARM (NASDAQ:ARMH) has disclosed the purchase of products and other assets of Carbon Design Systems, a U.S.-based provider of virtual (software-based) prototyping software for ARM SoC developers, for an undisclosed sum. Carbon's staff will be joining ARM.
- ARM, which plans to sell Carbon's products through its IP exchange: "The integration of Carbon's virtual prototyping products into the ARM portfolio will deliver access to ARM IP earlier in the design cycle ... Carbon has created a comprehensive library of ARM processor and system models that can be extended easily to create cycle-accurate virtual prototypes of any new ARM-based SoC ... [Carbon] already works with the worlds leading semiconductor vendors, all of whom license ARM processor IP."
- Separately, ARM has unveiled the Mali-470, a low-power GPU core for embedded/wearable devices (a source of much of the company's CPU core unit growth). ARM claims a 2x improvement in energy efficiency relative to the older Mali-400, as well as a 10% less die space. Power efficiency and performance improvements are also promised relative to the prior-gen Mali-450.
- The 470 squares off against GPU cores from market leader Imagination (OTCPK:IGNMF). ARM inked 9 Mali GPU licenses in Q2. The smart TV market has been a strong point for the platform.
- Prior ARM acquisitions
ARM Holdings PLC designs microprocessors, physical IP and related technology and software, and sells development tools to enhance the performance and energy-efficiency of high-volume embedded applications.
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