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Qualcomm Inc. (QCOM)

  • Thu, Oct. 8, 8:35 PM
    • 11 months after announcing it plans to enter the ARM server CPU market, Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) says it has begun sampling to "tier-1 data centers" (possibilities include Amazon, Google, and Facebook) a development platform featuring a pre-production version of a 24-core CPU.
    • Details are limited for now, though Qualcomm does state it's using custom ARM cores, as it does for many Snapdragon mobile processors. It also promises an upcoming server CPU "will be competitive in performance and price with current and future Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) chips," and that it will arrive "sooner rather than later" (no specific ETA is provided).
    • AppliedMicro (NASDAQ:AMCC) and Cavium (NASDAQ:CAVM) are early leaders in the budding market for ARM server CPUs. Others in the space include AMD, Texas Instruments, and Marvell. Various Web/cloud service providers have shown interest in deploying the chips. But for now, they generally continue buying Intel Xeon CPUs by the thousands.
    • Also: Qualcomm is partnering with FPGA vendor Xilinx (NASDAQ:XLNX) to create systems that pair Qualcomm server CPUs with Xilinx FPGAs to provide workload acceleration. Intel is doing something similar with Xilinx archrival Altera, which it's in the process of acquiring.
    • A partnership has also been formed with InfiniBand/Ethernet connectivity hardware and chip developer Mellanox (NASDAQ:MLNX). Mellanox's 10-100G InfiniBand and Ethernet gear will be optimized for Qualcomm's CPUs.
    | Thu, Oct. 8, 8:35 PM | 29 Comments
  • Fri, Sep. 25, 4:48 PM
    • Ericsson (ERIC +1.7%) and Qualcomm (QCOM -0.1%) have run a joint demo in China of LTE-Unlicensed -- showing that combining licensed and unlicensed parts of 5 GHz spectrum can support throughput of 300 Mpbs.
    • The demo means a closer commercial launch for LTE-U, which provides a piece of the 5G puzzle. The approach means taking unlicensed spectrum used by Wi-Fi and Bluetooth to create an indoor 5G network.
    • Ericsson says the technology will incorporate spectrum fair sharing in order not to interfere with traditional Wi-Fi throughput.
    • The demo used a second-gen picocell indoor base station combined with Qualcomm's Snapdragon 820 processor with X12 LTE.
    | Fri, Sep. 25, 4:48 PM | 6 Comments
  • Fri, Sep. 18, 6:15 AM
    • Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) is slashing more than 1,300 full-time jobs in San Diego and hundreds more in other states as it revamps its business in the face of slower growth in the maturing smartphone market.
    • A statement by President Derek Aberle says the company will provide outplacement help and severance packages.
    • Qualcomm revealed plans to slash its 31,300 global workforce by 15% in July and cut expenses by $1.4B annually.
    | Fri, Sep. 18, 6:15 AM | 6 Comments
  • Mon, Sep. 14, 2:18 PM
    • Capsule Technologie (not a typo) provides a platform (known as SmartLinx) for connecting, integrating, and analyzing medical device data, as well as for sending time-sensitive clinical data and alerts, to 1,800+ hospitals in 38 countries. Qualcomm (QCOM -0.9%) has bought the company for an undisclosed sum.
    • Qualcomm president Derek Aberle suggests there are synergies between Capsule's offerings and Qualcomm's connectivity chip business for embedded/IoT devices. "Qualcomm is focused on strengthening its position in specific Internet of Everything verticals, like healthcare. The acquisition of Capsule expands the breadth of our healthcare platform, enabling us to provide connectivity solutions for the entire care continuum and create one of the world's largest connected health ecosystems."
    • The acquisition is being made by the healthcare-focused Qualcomm Life subsidiary, which launched in 2011 and offers a cloud-based medical device data integration solution called 2net. Earlier this year, Qualcomm announced a partnership with Novartis in which 2net will be used to collect medical device data produced during Novartis clinical trials.
    | Mon, Sep. 14, 2:18 PM | 1 Comment
  • Sun, Sep. 13, 4:25 PM
    • Having long provided phone reference platforms that leverage its processors and other ICs, Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) is now taking aim at the budding drone market via Snapdragon Flight, a board featuring a Snapdragon 801 processor (2.2GHz., quad-core), Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and GPS connectivity, and support for 4K video recording and rapid charging.
    • Chinese drone maker Yuneec (recently received funding from Intel) is set to launch the first Snapdragon Flight-based drone in 2016. Qualcomm exec Raj Talluri states his company is also "in talks with a number of OEMs." Talluri: "Action cameras are moving into the mainstream, and drones are a natural extension of that with the market poised for major growth this year and beyond."
    • Video processor developer Ambarella (NASDAQ:AMBA) is in the crosshairs: The GoPro supplier received over 10% of its FQ2 (July quarter) revenue from drones, aided by design wins with Yuneec and market leader DJI. On its FQ2 call (transcript), Ambarella downplayed competitive challenges from the likes of Qualcomm, Intel, and Nvidia, arguing its video processing expertise and algorithms (declared to provide an edge in power consumption and image quality) set it apart. Qualcomm, by contrast, appears to be pitching OEMs on a soup-to-nuts solution that cuts development times and costs.
    • Earlier this year, Qualcomm took a stake in leading U.S. drone maker 3D Robotics. Though growing rapidly, drone volumes should amount to a small fraction of smartphone volumes for the foreseeable future. However, the adoption of end-to-end platforms such as Flight could allow Qualcomm to obtain a relatively high amount of chip content per drone.
    | Sun, Sep. 13, 4:25 PM | 9 Comments
  • Thu, Sep. 3, 6:33 PM
    • Having just launched major job cuts and still under pressure from Jana Partners to streamline, Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) is thinking of selling its Vuforia augmented reality tech unit, Re/code reports.
    • Qualcomm states Vuforia is supported by 175K+ registered developers and has powered over 20K apps. However, consumer adoption of augmented reality - apps/services melding real-world objects and computer-generated material - has generally  been subdued. Microsoft is hoping its HoloLens headset can help change that.
    • Separately, Qualcomm has shared more details about its Snapdragon 820 next-gen flagship processor, as well as the proprietary Kryo CPU cores powering it. The 820 will use a 14nm manufacturing process (likely Samsung's), and the 4 Kryo cores within it will be clocked at 2.2GHz., just slightly above the 2GHz delivered by the off-the-shelf ARM Cortex A57 cores used by the Snapdragon 810. However, thanks to architectural/process improvements, Qualcomm claims users can "expect up to 2 times the performance and up to 2 times the power efficiency when compared with the Snapdragon 810."
    • Update: Some more Qualcomm news: President Derek Aberle suggests his company is cool to the idea of splitting its chip unit from its IP licensing unit. "You have to step back and say why is that and would a separation actually solve whatever the underlying issues are that are creating the current valuation?. You have to be careful that it's not too simplistic an analysis." Qualcomm stated in July it would consider a breakup and other strategic options, after being urged to by Jana.
    | Thu, Sep. 3, 6:33 PM | 8 Comments
  • Wed, Sep. 2, 1:33 PM
    • After aggressively hiking their Ambarella (AMBA -12.9%) targets as shares soared well above $100 earlier this year, several firms have cut them following yesterday's FQ2 beat and in-line FQ3 guidance. However, no downgrades have arrived.
    • "An in-line guide disappointed, as the typical beat and raise failed to play out this quarter," notes Ascendiant's David Williams. In addition to GoPro-related concerns, he thinks China fears are weighing on shares, but adds he believes Ambarella's Chinese exposure (includes security and auto cameras, as well as Xiaomi's Yi action camera) isn't huge.
    • Pac Crest's Brad Erickson (Overweight rating, $123 target): "Timing and product mix affected AMBA's guidance, but we believe it remains sole-sourced at GoPro while the rest of the business is growing over 60% y/y ... China IP security paused in the quarter due to macro concerns and the company still beat revenue estimates, which highlights how diversified the business has become,"
    • Canaccord's Matt Ramsay (Buy, target cut by $17 to $105): "[W]e maintain our belief Ambarella’s portfolio of highly differentiated application-specific video encode, compression, and analytics processors will maintain strong market share against SoC competition and positions the company for strong sales and earnings growth..." Morgan Stanley's Joseph Moore (Equal-Weight) dismisses fears of competition from Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM), arguing a Qualcomm video SoC based on its mobile processors would be more expensive, more power-hungry, and consume more DRAM than Ambarella's SoCs.
    • Regarding GoPro (GPRO -7.3%), Raymond James' Tavis McCourt (Outperform, target cut by $21 to $50) thinks Ambarella's guidance suggests there won't be a holiday season camera refresh, and that the Hero4 Session "was the company’s biggest product launch of the year." McCourt also notes Ambarella's sales to GoPro contract manufacturer Chicony have risen over 100% Y/Y (easily topping GoPro's shipment/revenue growth), and thinks this is a sign GoPro was stockpiling inventories the last 3 quarters.
    • JMP's Alex Gauna (Outperform rating, $105 target on GoPro) has cut his GoPro Q3 estimates due to Ambarella's guidance. But he adds retail/online checks are in-line with seasonality, and show little evidence of competitive pressure. "[W]e would be buyers of GPRO on any potential weakness in sympathy with AMBA."
    • Prior Ambarella coverage
    | Wed, Sep. 2, 1:33 PM | 10 Comments
  • Fri, Aug. 28, 11:10 AM
    | Fri, Aug. 28, 11:10 AM | 122 Comments
  • Mon, Aug. 24, 7:08 PM
    • Two weeks after Northland Securities predicted Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) will have a ~50% iPhone 6S modem share, Raymond James' Hans Mosesmann reports "multiple [Silicon] Valley datapoints" suggest Intel will take iPhone share in 2016, not 2015, via its XMM 7360 4G modem.
    • Mosesmann: "At IDF, the Street got the opportunity to meet newly promoted GM of the Communications and Devices Group, Aicha Evans, who refreshingly and bluntly told the audience of analysts and investors that if Intel couldn’t get to scale in modems, it would basically be done. Our sense is that she knows it will have scale and Apple is that avenue."
    • Cowen's Tim Arcuri also doubts Intel will take 6S share from Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) in 2015, but leaves the door open to other wins. "[F]ield work with carriers and otherwise suggests QCOM will keep thin [modem] for 6S and 6S+. While we believe INTC has been evaluated for 6C (the 4″ model expected in CQ1:16), checks w/carriers and otherwise still do not support a new premium-tier modem – the addition of which would require at least 9 months of extensive testing (lab, interoperability, etc.) to get approval from the large US carriers."
    • He adds checks also suggest Samsung will use both Qualcomm's Snapdragon 820 app processor and its own Exynos processors in the Galaxy S7, after using only the Exynos 7420 in the Galaxy S6. Recently-leaked Samsung docs suggest the 820 is being tested by Samsung with the S7.
    • VentureBeat reported earlier this year Apple plans to use Intel 4G modems in 2016 iPhones aimed at emerging markets. Meanwhile, Digitimes has reported Qualcomm is "partnering with TSMC to supply 100% of the modem chips for use in the new iPhones slated for launch in September 2015."
    • Qualcomm fell 4% today amid a 3.8% Nasdaq drop. Intel fell 1.2%.
    | Mon, Aug. 24, 7:08 PM | 22 Comments
  • Fri, Aug. 14, 11:58 AM
    • Qualcomm (QCOM +0.1%) has sold its L-Band (1452MHz.-1492MHz.) U.K. spectrum to Vodafone (NASDAQ:VOD) and Three's U.K. subsidiaries. The Times reports total proceeds are expected to be above £100M ($156M).
    • Qualcomm announced in June it would sell the spectrum, following an EU decision allowing the L-Band to be used for mobile downlink capacity. The company paid just £8.3M ($12.9M) in 2008 to buy the spectrum.
    | Fri, Aug. 14, 11:58 AM | 3 Comments
  • Wed, Aug. 12, 12:39 PM
    • "We now believe that Intel (INTC +0.9%) will capture roughly 50% of Apple’s modem business in the upcoming iPhones due to launch September 9th," writes Northland Securities' Gus Richard. "[W]e estimate that this win could represent $750M to $1.25B in revenue for Intel in [2016]. This is a marque win for Intel and would go a long way to reducing the mobile business losses."
    • At the same time, Richard is concerned Alibaba plans to deploy ARM-based (ARMH -3.3%) server CPUs developed by Cavium (CAVM -1.7%), and reports hearing Amazon, Facebook, and Google are working on their own ARM server CPU designs. Major Web/cloud service providers currently rely overwhelmingly on Intel server CPUs (primarily Xeon).
    • Qualcomm (QCOM -0.9%) has been the iPhone's exclusive baseband modem supplier for some time, and also sells complementary RF transceiver, power management, receive-only, and envelope-tracking ICs to Apple. VentureBeat reported in March Apple plans to use Intel modems in 2016 iPhones aimed at emerging markets.
    • Qualcomm suggested last month Apple's high-end smartphone share gains were partly responsible for its soft FQ4 (calendar Q3) guidance. However, this was generally seen as a reference to the fact Apple uses home-grown app processors (the A-series) within the iPhone rather than Qualcomm's Snapdragon line. The company has dominated the 4G modem market to date, and is generally seen as having a high-end performance/power consumption edge.
    • Separately, Qualcomm has unveiled its next-gen GPU core architecture, the Adreno 5xx. Qualcomm promises up to 40% improvements in performance and power draw relative to the prior-gen Adreno 430. The first GPUs based on the architecture will go into the company's upcoming Snapdragon 820 (next-gen flagship) and 620/618 (mid-range) processors.
    • Intel is up modestly in spite of a 1% Nasdaq drop. Qualcomm is following markets lower.
    | Wed, Aug. 12, 12:39 PM | 26 Comments
  • Mon, Aug. 10, 7:06 PM
    • Leaked documents suggest Samsung is testing the use of Qualcomm's (NASDAQ:QCOM) Snapdragon 820 baseband/app processor (the company's next-gen flagship) with the Galaxy S7 (expected in early 2016).
    • Re/code reported in April the 820 will be made by Samsung, rather than mainstay Qualcomm foundry partner TSMC. Samsung's decision to exclusively use its Exynos 7420 app processor with the Galaxy S6, after making heavy use of the Snapdragon 801 and 805 with the Galaxy S5, has weighed on Qualcomm's 2015 chip sales.
    • The 820, previewed in March at the Mobile World Congress, will feature Qualcomm's next-gen Kryo CPU core, and also leverage its Zeroth neural networking processor IP. Assuming Samsung is the manufacturer, the chip is likely to be produced using Samsung/GlobalFoundries' 14nm FinFET (3D transistor) manufacturing process.
    | Mon, Aug. 10, 7:06 PM | 2 Comments
  • Thu, Aug. 6, 9:53 AM
    • Qualcomm (QCOM -0.5%), via its Atheros Wi-Fi/connectivity chip unit, is buying DSL modem/infrastructure IC and home gateway processor vendor Ikanos (NASDAQ:IKAN) for $2.75/share, or roughly $47M based on Ikanos' Q2 diluted share count. The price represents a 57% premium to Ikanos' Wednesday close. The deal is expected to close by year's end.
    • Ikanos' products complement Qualcomm/Atheros home Wi-Fi and wireline networking offerings. Qualcomm: "The combination of Qualcomm Atheros' broad home gateway IP portfolio, including Wi-Fi, powerline, small cell, and Ethernet switch technologies, and Ikanos' advanced wired modem technology, is designed to create a complete solution for a wide range of home gateway products to better serve the carrier segment." Broadcom (NASDAQ:BRCM) and Marvell (NASDAQ:MRVL) are among the other companies competing in this space.
    • Qualcomm CEO Steve Mollenkopf suggested last week his company would make new chip acquisitions.
    | Thu, Aug. 6, 9:53 AM | 1 Comment
  • Fri, Jul. 31, 10:44 AM
    • ParkerVision (NASDAQ:PRKR) states a federal appeals court (the CAFC) has affirmed a 2014 district court ruling declaring the company didn't prove Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) infringed its patents.
    • The court has also "upheld the district court's decision denying Qualcomm's judgement as a matter of law ("JMOL") motion for invalidity with regard to claim 27 of [ParkerVision's] '518 patent but reversed the district court's decision with regard to Qualcomm's JMOL for invalidity on the remaining claims in the case."
    • CEO Jeffrey Parker: "We are highly disappointed with the appellate court's decision both with regard to infringement and validity of certain of our patent claims. Despite this setback, we will consider further options on appeal, and will move forward in our second infringement case against Qualcomm, HTC and Samsung."
    • ParkerVision nosedived prior to the company's official announcement, and was subsequently halted. Shares plunged in May after the CAFC heard oral arguments for ParkerVision's appeal.
    • Update (11:54AM ET): ParkerVision is down 38% after coming off a halt.
    | Fri, Jul. 31, 10:44 AM | 1 Comment
  • Wed, Jul. 29, 1:27 PM
    • "Qualcomm (QCOM +0.2%) is very likely to be some form of actor in the consolidation of the semiconductor industry," CEO Steve Mollenkopf tells Bloomberg. “The timing of which is always the debate.”
    • The remarks come a week after Qualcomm said it would (following pressure to do so from Jana Partners) consider a breakup, along with other strategic options. There has been some speculation Qualcomm's chip unit (QCT) could merge with Intel (has been seeing heavy mobile division losses) following a spinoff; antitrust regulators would closely vet such a deal. Others have argued Qualcomm could by an RF chipmaker such as Skyworks or Qorvo, or (with the goal of expanding into the data center) acquire an ARM server CPU developer.
    • Qualcomm hasn't exactly been averse to M&A in recent years. Noteworthy acquisitions since 2011 include Atheros (Wi-Fi chips), Wilocity (WiGig chips), and CSR (Bluetooth/Wi-Fi chips).
    • Update: Some other Qualcomm news of interest: Mollenkopf discloses he bought 15,815 shares yesterday at $63.31, and CFO George S. Davis discloses he bought 8,100 shares yesterday at $62.34.
    | Wed, Jul. 29, 1:27 PM | 7 Comments
  • Mon, Jul. 27, 1:25 PM
    • Believing EPS can rise to $6.54 from an expected FY15 level of $4.63 (down from FY14's $5.27), Morgan Stanley's James Faucette has upgraded Qualcomm (QCOM +1.3%) to Overweight a few days after shares sold off on account of the FQ4 guidance provided with the company's mixed FQ3 results and job cut/strategic review announcement.
    • Faucette is optimistic Qualcomm can maintain a competitive edge in the merchant baseband/app processor market in spite of major job cuts, particularly given Intel has been slashing capex and recently pushed out its 10nm CPU ETA to 2H17. "We believe that the push by Qualcomm to close the [process] geometry gap with Intel has been a key driver of the annualized [cost of goods sold] + R&D increase of ~$7B over the last 4 years."
    • He also sees several potential EPS growth drivers, including regained app processor share at Samsung, Chinese 3G/4G growth, improved Chinese royalty capture, and the closing of the CSR deal (expected to be accretive). Concerns about lower 4G/5G royalty rates relative to 3G rates are downplayed. "These devices may carry a lower royalty rate, but if they include 3G connectivity, we believe Qualcomm is entitled to collect the full 3G royalty rate."
    • At the same time, Faucette is skeptical Qualcomm will spin off its chip unit (QCT) from its IP licensing unit (QTL). "We think chipset sales from the QCT segment create an easier path to collecting royalties in QTL. If the businesses are separated ... so too does this enforcement mechanism." Others have also noted QCT creates IP that's subsequently licensed by QTL, and that QTL lowers QCT's royalty bill for 3rd-party chip IP.
    | Mon, Jul. 27, 1:25 PM | 15 Comments
Company Description
Qualcomm Inc develops digital communication technology called CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access), & owns intellectual property applicable to products that implement any version of CDMA including patents, patent applications & trade secrets.