Nov. 21, 2013, 1:21 PM
- Om Malik reports hearing Qualcomm (QCOM -0.1%) has launched a round of layoffs that has resulted in several VP-level execs losing their jobs, and others being demoted. He adds one division lost nearly 100 jobs, and that further cuts are likely.
- Qualcomm, which has been aggressively ramping its chip R&D spend in recent years (something that has pressured chip division margins), has already stated it expects to end FY14 (ends Sep. '14) with a lower opex run rate than the one it closed FY13 at.
- Qualcomm's newfound focus on cost controls may have something to do with the CFO change it saw earlier this year. Malik's report comes in the wake of Qualcomm's analyst day (transcript), during which the mobile chip/IP giant unveiled a slew of new products and promised to return 75% of future free cash flow to shareholders.
Nov. 20, 2013, 12:30 PM
- Qualcomm (QCOM -0.1%) CEO Paul Jacobs has promised his company will return 75% of its free cash flow to shareholders.
- The announcement comes shortly after Qualcomm announced a new $5B buyback program, and promised to spend $4B on buybacks in FY14. It also follows years of criticism about the huge sums of cash Qualcomm has lost over the years on investments (made possibly by its chip/licensing cash flows) such as Mirasol and FLO TV.
- Qualcomm also says it's looking to enable the use of 4G in unlicensed spectrum, with the help of carrier aggregation. If viable, that could open the door to additional 4G services competition, and allow existing carriers to offer faster download speeds.
- In its analyst day slides, Qualcomm notes 25 carriers are currently investing in LTE aggregation (where the company has had a baseband chip lead), and that it has scored 150+ smartphone design wins for its 802.11ac Wi-Fi chips; that suggests share gains against market leader Broadcom (BRCM -0.2%).
- Also: Qualcomm claims its app processors and 4G modems maintain sizable power consumption advantages over rival products, and that its has 55+ Chinese 4G licenses; the company has had trouble collecting royalties on some Chinese 3G TD-SCDMA phone sales.
- Previous: Qualcomm unveils new processors
Nov. 20, 2013, 12:04 PM
- Qualcomm (QCOM +0.1%) has used its analyst day to take the wraps off several new chips. Among them is the Snapdragon 805, a new flagship baseband/app processor sporting four cores running at up to 2.5GHz. (the Snapdragon 800 tops out at 2.3GHz.), as well as a next-gen GPU said to offer a 40% performance gain.
- Some other features: 25.6GB/s of memory bandwidth, support for the low-power H.265 4K video codec, and integrated motion sensor processing.
- A new 4G baseband modem, the Gobi 9x35, has also been launched. The 9x35 uses a next-gen 20nm manufacturing process (likely from TSMC), and can support (via LTE carrier aggregation) download speeds of up to 300Mbps, twice that of the current Gobi 9x25.
- Meanwhile, Qualcomm's Atheros unit is launching its IPQ processors, which combine a dual-core CPU with a packet-processing engine, for the router, home gateway, and media server markets. Qualcomm claims the IPQ line offers 70% lower power draw than rival products; it represents new competition for Broadcom (BRCM), Marvell (MRVL -0.5%), and Cavium (CAVM +0.1%).
- Qualcomm expects the Snapdragon 805 to be in commercial devices in 1H14, and for the 9x35 to begin sampling in early 2014. The company is counting on the chips to fend off intensifying baseband and app processor competition from Intel, Broadcom, MediaTek (just launched an 8-core CPU), and Nvidia. The company's lead in integrating powerful app processors with 4G modems still gives it an edge when competing for many designs.
Nov. 18, 2013, 2:20 PM
- Qualcomm (QCOM -0.4%) says its Toq smartwatch, first revealed in September, will go on sale on Dec. 2 (Cyber Monday) for $350. (PR)
- Production volumes will be limited; Toq is mostly meant to act as a showcase for Qualcomm technologies - especially its Mirsasol low-power displays, which failed to catch on in the e-reader market in spite of big investments - and act as a reference design meant to encourage Qualcomm customers to develop similar smartwatches.
- In addition to using a Mirasol display, Toq features Qualcomm's WiPower LE wireless charging tech, and leverages its AllJoyn framework to receive smartphone notifications. "Applets" from AccuWeather and ETrade are preloaded. The device has no on/off switch.
Nov. 13, 2013, 11:50 AM
- The Moto G, a 4.5" Android (GOOG +0.9%) phone with a 720p display and 8GB-16GB of storage, will have an unsubsidized starting price of just $179. The product is aimed squarely at a burgeoning low-end smartphone market that has helped fuel Android's tremendous - IDC estimates 212M Android phones were shipped in Q3, and that the OS' smartphone share was 81% - and which has been dominated by Samsung and various Chinese/white-label vendors.
- Motorola Mobility chief Dennis Woodside realizes that, while much cheaper than an iPhone 5S or Galaxy S4, the G won't be the cheapest Android phone out there. He argues the device's mid-range specs will help it sell well in emerging markets. "There are products that are $70 ... They are just not very good."
- The G features Qualcomm's (QCOM +1.2%) middle-of-the-road Snapdragon 400 baseband/app processor (quad-core, 1.2GHz.), 1GB of RAM, newly-released Android 4.3 (KitKat), and a promised 14 hours of talk time. On the other hand, it doesn't have a 4G modem. It's launching in 30 countries, including some Motorola hasn't been in for years.
- The phone comes amid disappointing sales of the high-end and well-hyped Moto X, which Motorola sought to differentiate via support for extensive hardware customization. It also follows a Q3 in which Motorola saw a 34% Y/Y sales drop, and a $248M op. loss.
- Meanwhile, Samsung (SSNLF, SSNGY) is boasting it expects to have a 50% African smartphone share this year, and is aiming to double its smartphone sales to the continent in 2014.
Nov. 13, 2013, 8:23 AM
- Goldman, which pulled Qualcomm (QCOM) from its Conviction Buy list on March 8 (tougher competition was cited), is re-adding the mobile chip/IP giant today, while maintaining an $80 PT.
- Analyst Simona Jankowski notes Qualcomm is only up 11% YTD (compared with a 24% gain for the S&P), and that its forward P/E ha fallen to 13.2 from 14.2.
- She thinks Qualcomm's multiple compression is over, and (with the company having just promised more disciplined spending) forecasts chip division margins will rise by 400+ bps over the next four quarters. That, in turn, is expected to help fuel an 850 bps increase in op. margin.
- Jankowski also expects Qualcomm, which is already planning to buy back $4B worth of shares in FY14 (ends Sep. '14), to detail a more structured capital allocation plan at its Nov. 20 analyst day.
- Shares +0.7% premarket.
Nov. 8, 2013, 4:59 PM
- TSMC's (TSM -0.6%) October sales rose 3.6% Y/Y to NT$51.795B ($1.76B). That's the lowest Y/Y growth rate the world's top foundry has posted this year, and represents only the second time (July being the other) double-digit growth wasn't reported.
- TSMC's numbers come as Taiwanese chip industry sources tell Digitimes TSMC is set to witness a 10%+ Q/Q revenue drop in Q4 (guidance is for a 10% decline at the midpoint) due to weak demand for PCs, TVs, and high-end smartphones, and that visibility for Q1 2014 orders "is still unclear."
- Top TSMC clients Qualcomm (QCOM - just provided soft guidance), Broadcom, Nvidia, AMD, and Marvell are said to have cut chip wafer starts in Q4; some of this is likely due to seasonality.
- At the same time, order activity from MediaTek, a major Qualcomm rival in the market for baseband chips used in low-end/mid-range phones, is said to remain strong. MediaTek's sales rose 32.7% Y/Y in October to $472M; the chipmaker has now posted 30%+ growth in each of its last seven months.
- Previous: TSMC's 28nm utilization rate reportedly falls
Nov. 7, 2013, 3:59 PM
- Though some bad news was expected thanks to the guidance provided by mobile chip peers in recent weeks, Qualcomm (QCOM -3.8%) continues to slump in response to its soft FQ1 guidance, which reflects a big expected slowdown in chip shipment growth, and mixed FY14 guidance (above-consensus EPS, but below-consensus revenue).
- On its CC (transcript), Qualcomm mentioned its chip division (QCT) growth will "moderate" in FY14 in part due to product mix - the fact the high-end smartphone market is "increasingly concentrated" (i.e. Samsung and Apple dominate) is said to affect QCT's sales and margins. While both Apple and Samsung are Qualcomm baseband chip clients, Apple relies on its own app processors, and Samsung partly does so.
- At the same time, Qualcomm, which has been aggressively ramping R&D spend in recent quarters, says it will "control expenses" in FY14, and will exit FY14 with a lower opex run rate than it exited FY13 with. That, along with $4B in planned buybacks, is a major reason why FY14 EPS guidance is above consensus.
- Goldman (Buy) is pleased with Qualcomm's FY14 3G/4G device ASP guidance of $216-$230, which implies only a 1% drop at the midpoint. It also likes Qualcomm's Chinese 4G optimism and guidance for 15% 2014 3G/4G device growth. Nomura (Buy) is disappointed with Qualcomm's FQ1 demand, but also declares the company is "demonstrating more leverage" than expected.
- Other mobile chipmakers are also underperforming: TQNT -5%. ANAD -4.3%. SWKS -3.5%. RFMD -3.1%. OVTI -2.8%.
Nov. 6, 2013, 4:42 PM
- Qualcomm (QCOM) shipped 190M MSM (baseband and app processor) chips in FQ4, +35% Y/Y (much better growth than FQ3's 22%) and beating guidance of 171M-181M. But the company is expecting shipments to grow only 7%-15% Y/Y in seasonally strong FQ1, to a range of 195M-210M. Plenty of mobile chipmakers have already issued soft guidance, and foundry partner TSMC has reportedly been cutting 28nm chip production.
- Royalty-bearing (3G/4G) device sales for the June quarter, for which Sep. quarter royalties are based, rose 29% Y/Y, better than the March quarter's 18% growth. Device ASP was steady at $227-$233 after rising in the March quarter.
- In spite of the light FQ1 guidance, Qualcomm has upped its calendar 2013 3G/4G device shipment guidance midpoint to 1.1B from 1.05B. The company's initial forecast for 2014 shipments is a somewhat conservative 1.26B (+15% Y/Y).
- Chip division (QCT) sales +42% Y/Y to $4.46B, royalty division (QTL) sales +19% to $1.87B. Nonetheless, QTL's EBT profit ($1.62B) remains much larger than QCT's ($702M)
- R&D spend +23% Y/Y to $1.18B; that's a slowdown from FQ3's 36% growth. SG&A spend +11%, down from FQ3's +19%.
- $3.32B was spent on buybacks in FQ4; $4B in FY14 buybacks are planned.
- QCOM -4.3% AH. CC at 4:45PM ET. FQ4 results, PR, slides.
Nov. 6, 2013, 4:06 PM
- Qualcomm (QCOM): FQ4 EPS of $1.05 misses by $0.03.
- Revenue of $6.48B (+33% Y/Y) beats by $130M.
- Expects FQ1 revenue of $6.3B-$6.9B and EPS of $1.10-$1.20, below a consensus of $6.99B and $1.29.
- Expects FY14 revenue of $26B-$27.5B and EPS of $4.95-$5.15 vs. a consensus of $27.55B and $4.93.
- Shares -4.4% AH. (PR)
Nov. 4, 2013, 5:00 AM
- Fairfax Financial Holdings (FRFHF) has until 5 pm today to firm up the preliminary $4.7B bid for BlackBerry (BBRY) that the Toronto-based firm made six weeks ago.
- The deadline comes amid reports that Fairfax, which is BlackBerry's largest shareholder with a 9.9% stake, has struggled to secure financing for the deal, while it is also yet to name partners.
- Other bids could come in by the deadline, although it could be extended. Those who are reportedly interested in the beleaguered cell-phone maker include a group that could eventually be comprised of the company's founders, Qualcomm (QCOM) and Cerberus.
Nov. 1, 2013, 5:26 PM
- Digitimes reports TSMC (TSM) has seen the capacity utilization rate for its advanced 28nm manufacturing processes fall to 70% thanks to slowing orders for "high-end mobile chips." Customer inventory-paring efforts and "disappointing" high-end smartphone sales are said to be responsible for the order weakness.
- Qualcomm (QCOM - reports on Nov. 6) has been TSMC's largest 28nm mobile client. Others include MediaTek, Nvidia, and Broadcom. The report follows an October that saw many mobile chipmakers (inc. TSMC clients such as Broadcom, Cirrus Logic, and Audience) provide disappointing Q4 guidance. It also follows reports TSMC is facing tougher 28nm competition from GlobalFoundries and Samsung.
- TSMC provided better-than-feared Q4 guidance two weeks ago. Volume production for the foundry's next-gen 20nm process is set to begin early next year.
Nov. 1, 2013, 4:55 PM
- A couple hours after reporting Cerberus is exploring a joint bid for BlackBerry (BBRY) with co-founders Mike Lazaridis and Doug Fregin, the WSJ reports Qualcomm (QCOM) is in talks to join the effort
- It's unlikely Qualcomm would have much interest in BlackBerry's hardware ops, which compete against the mobile chip/IP giant's largest customers. But it could find some value in BlackBerry's sizable patent portfolio.
Oct. 31, 2013, 12:15 PM
- Qualcomm (QCOM +0.3%) has acquired FlexNoc, a technology platform that improves the performance and simplifies the development of interconnects linking different modules within SoCs such as Qualcomm's Snapdragon processors. Terms are undisclosed.
- FlexNoc, along with its engineering team, is being acquired from French interconnect IP developer Arteris, which already claims Qualcomm and many other major chipmakers (e.g. TI, Samsung, Cavium, Altera) as customers. Arteris promises to continue supporting third-party FlexNoc clients, but there's skepticism about its ability to pull it off.
- With mobile SoCs featuring a huge and growing number of building blocks - CPU cores, GPU cores, DSPs, media processors, and display/connectivity interfaces are among the items in question - acquiring direct control of FlexNoc could strengthen Qualcomm's Snapdragon R&D efforts.
- Qualcomm has been spending aggressively to stay ahead of mobile processor rivals: R&D spend rose 36% Y/Y in the June quarter to $1.13B.
- FQ4 results are due on Nov. 6.
Oct. 26, 2013, 2:00 PM
- Anand Chandrasekher, Qualcomm's (QCOM) chief marketing officer and once the head of Intel's Atom CPU unit, has been reassigned after calling the 64-bit ARMv8 (ARMH) instruction set used by Apple's (AAPL) new A7 CPU (found in the iPhone 5S, iPad Air, and retina iPad Mini) a "gimmick."
- Qualcomm, which had already declared the comments to be "inaccurate" in an attempt at damage control, says Chandrasekher is "moving to a new role leading our exploration of certain enterprise related initiatives."
- Back in August, Chandrasekher drew headlines by declaring 8-core mobile processors, such as one launched by MediaTek, a "dumb" idea, given efficiency/battery life tradeoffs. But whereas MediaTek is a rival, Apple is one of Qualcomm's top clients, using its baseband modems, RF transceivers, and power management ICs (but not its app processors) in iPhones and 4G-capable iPads.
- PR concerns aside, most apps won't get a performance boost from 64-bit in the near-term. But ARMv8's support for more CPU registers will benefit some performance-intensive media apps. Long-term, the ability of 64-bit CPUs to support more than 4GB of RAM make their mobile adoption inevitable.
- ARM shares took off after Apple disclosed the A7 will feature ARMv8, since 64-bit CPUs carry higher royalties. Since then, Samsung has disclosed its next-gen CPUs will be 64-bit.
Oct. 24, 2013, 2:32 PM
- ParkerVision (PRKR -15.2%) shares plunge after a jury delivers a $173M verdict in favor of the company in its damages trial against Qualcomm (QCOM - unchanged). The sum is a long way off the $432M in infringement damages ParkerVision sought.
- The jury ruled Qualcomm's infringement of ParkerVision's IP was not willful.
- Shares are currently halted.
QUALCOMM, Inc. engages in the development, design, manufacture, and marketing of digital telecommunications products and services. It operates through three segments: Qualcomm CDMA Technologies, Qualcomm Technology Licensing, and Qualcomm Strategic Initiatives. The Qualcomm CDMA Technologies... More
Industry: Communication Equipment
Country: United States
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