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Nov. 2, 2015, 6:30 PM
- Nine months after reaching a settlement with Chinese authorities regarding its 3G/4G royalty rates, Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) has inked a new licensing deal with major local OEM ZTE.
- The deal covers both mobile devices and infrastructure gear, and features terms consistent with the Chinese settlement. The deal called for a 5% royalty rate on multi-mode 3G/4G devices, and a 3.5% rate on 4G-only devices, off a royalty base equal to 65% of a device's net selling price.
- ZTE is aiming for 60M 2015 smartphone sales, and is also a major mobile infrastructure provider. Qualcomm mentioned in July its Chinese sales were still being affected by under-reporting from OEMs, and that negotiations with certain OEMs remain ongoing. FQ4 results arrive on Wednesday afternoon.
- Last week: Qualcomm appoints strategy/M&A chief, launches modem and IP camera reference platform
Oct. 29, 2015, 2:57 PM
- Brian Modoff, a long-time Deutche managing director and tech/telecom analyst - Qualcomm (QCOM -0.6%) is among the companies he has covered - has been hired by Qualcomm to be its EVP of strategy, M&A, and ventures.
- Modoff will have "companywide oversight for strategy, M&A and [Qualcomm's] venture investment portfolio." Last year, Qualcomm saw Peggy Johnson, an EVP responsible for creating new business opportunities and strategic relationships (among other things), leave for Microsoft.
- In other news, Qualcomm has unveiled two 4G modems meant specifically for low-power IoT applications such as smart metering, wearables, and industrial automation, and an IP camera reference platform that leverages the company's Snapdragon 618 processor (features two 1.8GHz. ARM Cortex-A72 cores + four 1.2GHz. Cortex-A53 cores).
- The more powerful of the IoT modems (the MDM9207-1) contains a 1.2GHz. app processor and is said to enable 10+ years of battery life through a power save mode. The IP camera platform aims to challenge market leader Ambarella; as with its drone platform, Qualcomm is hoping an end-to-end reference design will act as a selling point.
- Qualcomm's FQ4 report arrives on the afternoon of Nov. 4.
Oct. 26, 2015, 10:52 AM
- Apple suppliers Qualcomm (QCOM -2.9%), Cirrus Logic (CRUS -10.1%), Skyworks (SWKS -5.1%), Qorvo (QRVO -5%), Avago (AVGO -4.2%), Broadcom (BRCM -2.3%), NXP (NXPI -3.5%), InvenSense (INVN -2.1%), Synaptics (SYNA -4.4%), and Analog Devices (ADI -2.7%) are selling off after iPhone/iPad power management IC supplier Dialog Semi (down 18.8% in Frankfurt) reported 18% Y/Y Q3 revenue growth and guided for annual Q4 growth to be in a range of -1% to +6%. Both the Q3 sales and Q4 guidance missed consensus estimates.
- NXP merger partner Freescale (FSL -2.9%) is also lower. As is Atmel (ATML -8.1%), which is set to merge with Dialog in a cash/stock deal. Atmel was originally due to receive over half its payout in Dialog shares, whose value has fallen considerably since the deal was announced in mid-September.
- Broadcom, set to merge with Avago, reports after the bell. Apple reports tomorrow, and Cirrus, NXP, and InvenSense on Wednesday. With the help of improving demand and ongoing M&A, chip stocks had bounced strongly from their August/September lows in recent weeks.
Oct. 19, 2015, 1:51 PM
- U.K. retailer Carphone Warehouse has begun taking pre-orders for BlackBerry's (BBRY +0.4%) Priv Android phone. The device, slide-out keyboard/touchpad and all, goes for a steep £579.99 ($899) unsubsidized. Monthly payment plans start at £49/month ($76/month). Delivery is promised by Nov. 6.
- Carphone has also confirmed the Priv's specs. The phone has a curved 5.4" 2K OLED display, an 18MP rear camera with dual-LED flash, a 2MP front camera, a Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) Snapdragon 808 processor, 3GB of RAM, 32GB of internal storage, and a large 3,410mAh battery. (promo video)
- BlackBerry is hoping the Priv, which pairs Google's version of Android (and all the Google apps/services bundled with it) with BlackBerry apps/services, will carve out a niche with keyboard enthusiasts and high-end enterprise/government users. The company recognized revenue on just 800K phones in FQ2 (the August quarter), down from 1.1M in FQ1 and 2.1M a year ago.
- John Chen has suggested BlackBerry could exit the smartphone market if it doesn't sell 5M phones/year, the level he considers necessary for the company's smartphone ops to be profitable.
Oct. 16, 2015, 5:13 PM
- Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) "now has a thousand people or more working to outfit a 2016 iPhone" with its XMM 7360 2G/3G/4G modem, sources tell VentureBeat. It adds Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) may dual-source its 2016 iPhone modems via Intel and current supplier Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM).
- That meshes with a March VentureBeat report stating the XMM 7360 will go into 2016 iPhones aimed at emerging markets. Though an August Northland Securities report forecast Intel will supply modems for some iPhone 6S/6S+ units, teardowns indicate Apple is solely relying on Qualcomm's MDM9635M modem.
- The MDM9635M supports 300Mbps peak download speeds, and the XMM 7360 450Mbps peak speeds. Qualcomm, whose high-end modems are generally considered to have a performance/power consumption edge, recently unveiled the X12, which supports 600Mbps peak speeds and will be integrated with its Snapdragon 820 processor.
- Also: VentureBeat reports Apple would like to eventually develop an SoC that features both an A-series app processor and a 4G modem, and which would be manufactured using Intel's 14nm process. The site also suggests Apple is interested in Intel's 10nm process (due in 2017).
- Intel would provide modem IP for the SoC in addition to manufacturing the chip. To date, Intel has paired discrete A-series processors manufactured by Samsung (OTC:SSNLF) and TSMC (NYSE:TSM) with 3rd-party modems (in recent years, Qualcomm's). Intel recently bought 3G CDMA modem assets (needed to service Verizon, Sprint, China Telecom, and certain other carriers) from Taiwan's VIA Telecom.
Oct. 12, 2015, 9:29 AM
- Enterprise software firm PTC is buying Qualcomm's (NASDAQ:QCOM) Vuforia augmented reality technology unit, and acquiring the related developer ecosystem.
- Re/code reported in September Qualcomm is thinking of selling Vuforia, which provides developer tools and IP for creating apps supporting augmented reality (i.e. the melding of real-world and computer-generated material). Qualcomm has claimed Vuforia is supported by 175K+ developers and has been used by 20K+ apps.
- Update: While Qualcomm didn't announce the deal price, PTC states it's paying $65M for Vuforia. The company expects the purchase to close by year's end, and doesn't expect it to impact 2016 EPS.
Oct. 9, 2015, 4:04 PM
- ITC administrative law judge Thomas Pender has ruled Samsung (OTC:SSNLF) and Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) didn't infringe two Nvidia (NVDA -0.4%) GPU patents asserted by the latter. He did rule the companies infringed a third patent, but also found it to be invalid, arguing the patent doesn't cover a new invention.
- The case will now go to the full ITC commission. Nvidia sued Qualcomm and Samsung last year, alleging their Snapdragon and Exynos processors respectively infringe the company's IP. It obtained a favorable Markman ruling from Pender in April. Samsung, meanwhile, has countersued Nvidia in a Virginia federal court.
- Update: Nvidia has issued a statement regarding Pender's ruling. "We now intend to ask the full commission (which is made up of six commissioners) to review this initial determination and to confirm the previous judgment of the U.S. Patent Office — that the third patent is valid. If they agree, the ITC would issue an order that would preclude Samsung from importing into the U.S. infringing Samsung mobile devices and smart TVs."
Oct. 9, 2015, 9:02 AM
- Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) declares $0.48/share quarterly dividend, in line with previous.
- Forward yield 3.33%
- Payable Dec. 18; for shareholders of record Dec. 1; ex-div Nov. 27.
Oct. 8, 2015, 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.
Sep. 25, 2015, 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.
Sep. 18, 2015, 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.
Sep. 14, 2015, 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.
Sep. 13, 2015, 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.
Sep. 3, 2015, 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.
Sep. 2, 2015, 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
Aug. 28, 2015, 11:10 AM
- There's plenty of precedent for the recent market action, says Morgan Stanley's Adam Parker, noting the market has dropped more than 5% 16 times since March 2009, and each time has moved on to new highs.
- His half-glass view is that the economy is in the middle of its longest expansion ever, and a less-active Fed, a nervous consumer maybe saving more, a lower oil price, and a flattish dollar all argue for continued expansion.
- Morgan's top ideas to buy on the pullback: AGN, AMZN, AAPL, AVGO, BAC, BKU, DAL, GILD, GOOG, GOOGL, HLT, JPM, KR, LEN, LMCK, MGA, MBLY, NWL, QCOM, SABR, CRM, SBAC, SBUX, BX, TMO, VRSK, WWAV, XL.
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.
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