Tue, May 26, 3:49 AM
- Samsung Group has announced the merger of two major affiliates, as it reconstructs itself to smooth the path for management succession within the founding Lee family.
- The all stock deal, approved by the boards of both firms, would see Samsung's de facto holding company Cheil Industries acquire building firm Samsung C&T (which has a key stake in Samsung Electronics (OTC:SSNLF)) for 8.9T won ($8.1B).
Mon, May 18, 11:04 AM
- A federal appeals court (the CAFC) has upheld the patent infringement violations found by a San Jose jury in Apple's (AAPL +0.4%) 2012 infringement suit against Samsung (OTC:SSNLF). However, it has reversed the $382M in trade dress dilution damages awarded to Apple (part of the $930M awarded overall), which will now be reconsidered by the San Jose court.
- Apple and Samsung's bitter legal war has been gradually dying down: Last year, the companies agreed to drop all suits outside of the U.S. That occurred shortly after Apple was awarded $120M in a U.S. infringement suit (separate from the 2012 complaint), much less than the $2B it originally sought.
- Separately, Whale Wisdom's Daniel Collins reports (following a review of Q1 13F filings) the number of Apple shares held by firms with over $100M under management fell by 4% in Q1 to 3.38B. 1,064 firms cut their positions, and 862 added to theirs; 121 created new positions, and 69 closed out.
- David Einhorn's Greenlight Capital and Philippe Laffont's Coatue Management were among the major hedge funds to cut their Apple stakes. Leon Cooperman's Omega Advisors liquidated its stake, while Ray Dalio's Bridgewater Associates upped its position. Carl Icahn's position was unchanged at 52.8M shares.
- Overall, 2,193 13F filers owned $421B worth of Apple shares - both figures are market highs. 1,186 firms counted Apple as a top-10 holding.
Fri, May 15, 4:59 AM
- Samsung Group appears to be in the final stages of its succession process, with the conglomerate saying that heir apparent Jay Y Lee will become chairman of two key foundations, Samsung Life Public Welfare Foundation and Samsung Foundation of Culture.
- The entities own shares in Samsung Life Insurance Co and enable the Lee family to control the group despite a relatively small stake.
- Lee, who is vice chairman of flagship company Samsung Electronics (OTC:SSNLF), will take over from his father Lee Kun-hee, who has been hospitalized for a over a year after suffering a heart attack, at the foundations.
- The younger Lee is eventually expected to succeed his father as Chairman of the whole group.
Thu, May 14, 7:19 PM
- 5B non-smartphone connected devices will be sold by the end of 2018, Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) predicts at a press event highlighting its efforts to profit from the IoT chip market's rapid growth.
- Qualcomm notes it expects to get over 10% of its FY15 (ends Sep. '15) chip sales for devices other than mobile phones. The company has cumulatively sold chips for 20M Web-connected cars, and its Atheros Wi-Fi/Bluetooth unit sold chips for 120M connected home devices last year.
- Qualcomm/Atheros used the event to show off a pair of IoT-focused Wi-Fi chips - the QCA401x and QCA4531. The 401x, aimed at giving embedded device makers a small/low-power solution that can be quickly designed into hardware, comes with a built-in microcontroller and a communications protocol stack. The 4531 is aimed at more powerful devices: It contains a 650MHz. CPU, supports embedded Linux, and can function either as a Wi-Fi node or hub/access point.
- Like Qualcomm, Intel, Broadcom, and Texas Instruments are also going after the IoT chip market with some mixture of CPU, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth offerings, as well as integrated SoCs and modules. Samsung (OTC:SSNLF) recently launched Artik, a family of IoT hardware modules containing a CPU, memory, and related software tools. One Artik module supports Bluetooth, and another both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.
Mon, May 11, 2:17 PM
- After growing 19.1% Y/Y in Q4 (and seeing stronger growth earlier in 2014), Chinese smartphone shipments fell 4.3% in Q1 to 98.8M units, per IDC. Higher penetration rates, carrier subsidy cuts, and an inventory buildup near the end of 2014 contributed to the drop.
- IDC: "China is oftentimes thought of as an emerging market but the reality is that the vast majority of phones sold in China today are smartphones ... convincing existing users as well as feature phone users to upgrade to new smartphones will now be the key to further growth in the China market."
- Analysts have already noted Chinese smartphone demand has softened. Demand is expected to improve in 2H15, as inventories are cleared and 4G phone sales continue growing. IDC expects "relatively flat" growth for the whole of 2015.
- With strong pent-up demand for larger iPhones providing a lift, IDC estimates Apple's (AAPL -0.9%) share rose to 14.7% (#1 overall) from 12.3% in Q4 and 8.7% a year ago, via 14.5M shipments (+62% Y/Y). Revenue share was likely well over 30%, given sub-$150 Android phones account for a large portion of local sales. Apple, for its part, has reported its Greater China revenue (iPhone or otherwise) rose 71% Y/Y in Q1 to $16.8B (29% of total revenue).
- Xiaomi continues growing rapidly: IDC estimates its share rose to 13.7% (#2) from 9.2% a year ago. Fellow local Android OEM Huawei saw its share rise to 11.4% (#3) from 7.8%. Samsung (OTC:SSNLF), however, saw its share fall to 9.7% from 19.9% ahead of the Galaxy S6 launch. Lenovo/Motorola's (OTCPK:LNVGY) share fell to 8.3% (#5) from 10.3%. Everyone else had 42.2% of the market.
Wed, Apr. 29, 6:21 PM
- The WSJ reports AAC Technologies, one of the two suppliers of the Apple Watch's (NASDAQ:AAPL) taptic engine (enables its haptic feedback features) was making defective components, and thus slowed down the ramping of Watch production. No recall is planned, since Apple doesn't believe Watches with the defective part shipped to consumers.
- Apple has reportedly responded by moving nearly all of its taptic engine production to Japan's Nidec, which didn't encounter the same issue. However, the WSJ states "it may take time" for Nidec to up production, and that Apple told some Watch suppliers last week to "slow production until June."
- The report comes as shipping times for many Watch models remain lengthy; a survey from research firm Slice indicated only 22% of U.S. Watch orders were delivered during the first weekend (376K out of 1.7M).
- In its FQ2 10-Q, Apple discloses the European Commission "could require Ireland to recover from the Company past taxes covering a period of up to 10 years," and that such tax payments could be "material." The EC has long been probing the use of Irish legal structures by Apple and other U.S. multinationals to lower their local tax bills; the FT reported last year Apple could receive a fine of up to several billions of euros.
- IDC estimates Apple's 61.2M calendar Q1 iPhone sales were good for an 18.2% global smartphone unit share, up from 15.2% a year ago; revenue share is likely above 40%. Samsung (OTC:SSNLF) had an estimated 24.5% unit share (82.4M shipments), down from 30.7% a year ago. #3 Lenovo (OTCPK:LNVGY) fell to 5.6% from 6.6% after factoring the Motorola Mobility deal.
- Overall, IDC thinks smartphone shipments rose 16.7% Y/Y to 336.5M. The total mobile phone market was roughly flat at 458.9M units.
Wed, Apr. 29, 2:14 AM
- Reporting its sixth consecutive quarterly decline, Samsung's (OTC:SSNLF) net profit slumped 39% to 4.63T Korean won ($4.3B) during the January-March period, as cut-throat competition hit its mobile division.
- Mobile operating profit margins, however, saw a rise, climbing to 10.6% from 7.5% in Q4 due to lower marketing costs and better sales of midrange handsets.
- Despite the bumpy quarter, Samsung said it expected an earnings improvement in Q2, citing the recent launch of the new Galaxy S6.
Fri, Apr. 24, 5:00 AM
- Samsung (OTC:SSNLF) teased the market with hints of a new design for its Gear smartwatch on Friday, the same day its rival's long-awaited wearable, the Apple Watch, goes on sale.
- Samsung's official blog post showed images eschewing the Gear's familiar square shape for a fully rounded face, alongside apps from CNN, Yelp, and Baidu.
- The company said it would also release a software development kit for third-party developers prior to the launch.
Mon, Apr. 20, 5:39 PM
- Backing up industry speculation to the effect (as well as a 2014 Digitimes report that pointed in this direction), Re/code reports Qualcomm's (NASDAQ:QCOM) Snapdragon 820 baseband/app processor (its next-gen flagship) will be made using Samsung's (OTC:SSNLF) 14nm FinFET (3D transistor) manufacturing process. Qualcomm has historically relied on TSMC (NYSE:TSM) to make its most advanced processors, though it also does business with other foundries.
- The scoop follows a slew of reports stating Samsung's 14nm process will be used to manufacture at least a majority of Apple's A9 CPUs; KGI reported last week TSMC (set to ramp 16nm FinFET production) will handle 30% of A9 production after (Samsung 14nm partner) GlobalFoundries encountered yield issues.
- No word on whether Samsung will reward Qualcomm's decision by using the 820 in future high-end phones. Samsung opted to use its Exynos 7420 processor (also made using its 14nm process) instead of Qualcomm's Snapdragon 810 (made using TSMC's 20nm process) in the Galaxy S6, and is also using its own baseband modems in a large chunk of S6 units.
- The 820, which makes use of Qualcomm's next-gen Kryo CPU core and Zeroth neural networking tech, begins sampling in 2H15. The timetable suggests commercial hardware featuring the SoC could arrive in 1H16 (in time for the Galaxy S7?). Qualcomm's FQ2 report is due on Wednesday.
Wed, Apr. 15, 7:51 AM
- Samsung Electronics (OTC:SSNLF) has created a standalone team of about 200 employees to work exclusively on making screens for Apple's products, Bloomberg reports.
- The team at Samsung Display Co, which provides screens for iPads and MacBooks, helps develop products and is only allowed to share information about Apple's business within the group. The team formed on April 1.
- Relations between the two rivals thawed last year after they dropped all lawsuits against each other outside the U.S.
Wed, Apr. 15, 5:03 AM
- Building on last week's guidance, Samsung (OTC:SSNLF) has announced that demand for both its new Galaxy S6 models was "much higher" than initially estimated.
- "Although there may be some difficulties for the short term, we will do our utmost to secure enough supply for our global consumers," Samsung said in a statement.
- Analysts say the new devices will generate meaningful earnings momentum in the current quarter as the phones go on sale across the globe.
- Previously: Samsung eyes record shipments for Galaxy S6 (Apr. 09 2015)
Thu, Apr. 9, 3:47 AM
- Samsung Electronics (OTC:SSNLF) expects to ship record numbers of its new Galaxy S6 smartphone after it goes on sale tomorrow, but will have problems fulfilling demand for the curved-edged version due to difficulties in manufacturing the screens.
- The hope is that the launch of the flagship device will help spark a turn around at Samsung following a slump in earnings over the past year or so.
- The company hasn't disclosed what its record shipment is, although the S3 is reckoned to be its best-selling model. Nomura has estimated that the firm sold 80M units following its launch in 2012.
Tue, Apr. 7, 3:55 AM
- Samsung Electronics' (OTC:SSNLF) Q1 operating profit fell a preliminary 31% to 5.9T won ($5.4B), although the figure represents a slowdown in the company's earnings decline and topped analyst forecasts of 5.5T won.
- Sales dropped 12% to 47T won, below consensus of 50.1T.
- Buffeted by competition from Apple at one end of the market and cheaper rivals at the other, Samsung's earnings have dropped for six consecutive quarters, although the South Korean company is hoping that Friday's launch of the the Galaxy S6 will attract back buyers and push sales of chips and displays.
- Samsung didn't provide net profit or divisional numbers, with its final results due later this month.
Fri, Apr. 3, 3:20 PM
- Whereas Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) had six chips designed into many Galaxy S5 models, a Chipworks teardown of Samsung's (OTC:SSNLF) Galaxy S6 didn't turn up a single Qualcomm part.
- In addition to eschewing the Snapdragon 810 app processor (widely reported, and hinted at by Qualcomm itself) in favor of its 8-core Exynos 7420, Samsung (possibly prioritizing margins over performance/battery life) replaced Qualcomm baseband modem, power management, RF transceiver, and envelope tracking chips with home-grown parts. As expected, Samsung is also using its own DRAM/NAND chips and image processor.
- Though Chipworks says it needs to confirm, the site believes Samsung is also using its own NFC controller. NXP (NASDAQ:NXPI) supplies the S5's NFC controller (as well as the iPhone 6's).
- Broadcom (NASDAQ:BRCM) might also be a casualty of Samsung's attempts to buy local: Whereas the S5 contained a Wi-Fi module from Broadcom combo chip client Murata, Chipworks uncovered a Samsung Wi-Fi module - Samsung has already been using home-grown combo chips in cheaper phones. On the other hand, a Broadcom GPS/GNSS chip is included.
- A Texas Instruments (NASDAQ:TXN) wireless power receiver handles wireless charging for the S6; many expected IDT (NASDAQ:IDTI), which supplies a transmitter chip for the S6's wireless charging pad, would score the design. Meanwhile, Cirrus Logic's (NASDAQ:CRUS) Wolfson unit supplies an audio codec IC, and Maxim (NASDAQ:MXIM) is providing an audio amplifier and complementary power management IC.
- Skyworks (NASDAQ:SWKS) and Avago (NASDAQ:AVGO) have won RF slots: The former provides a multi-mode/multi-band front-end module and antenna switch, and the latter two power amplifier modules. Both companies also had S5 design wins.
- Not surprisingly, InvenSense (NYSE:INVN) is providing a 6-axis gyroscope/accelerometer (the MPU-6500). As was rumored, STMicroelectronics (NYSE:STM) won the touch controller slot, beating out S5 supplier Synaptics.
- While Qualcomm lost out on the S6, the company has landed a number of other Snapdragon 810 design wins for high-end Android phones. The Snapdragon 820, which sports a next-gen ARM CPU core (Kryo) and Qualcomm's Zeroth neural networking tech, begins sampling in 2H15. 3D SoCs (said to enable a 50% shrink in die size) are expected to enter testing in 2016.
- The Chipworks teardown follows a long list of glowing reviews for the S6 - reviewers especially like the 2K display and Samsung's decision to go with a metal/glass body instead of the usual plastic - and reports of production hikes and strong pre-orders. Sales start on April 10.
- Update: A Chinese S6 teardown turned up a chip said to be an NXP NFC part; its name (the 66T05) is very different from the chips in NXP's announced NFC controller line. A Sprint RDF file indicates Sprint's version of the S6 features Qualcomm's MDM9635 modem. That suggests Samsung could use Qualcomm modems for phones requiring 3G EV-DO compatibility (those used by Sprint, Verizon, and a handful of overseas carriers).
Wed, Apr. 1, 1:24 AM
- "The iPhone 6 (NASDAQ:AAPL) Has Met Its Match," reads the headline for the WSJ's review of Samsung's (OTC:SSNLF) Galaxy S6.
- Reviewer/iPhone 6 owner Joanna Stern: "Like a child who just found out that Santa isn’t real, I have spent the past week questioning everything I know." She's a fan of the S6's glass/metal body with dual Gorilla Glass 4 (NYSE:GLW) panes, as well as its 2K OLED display, improved fingerprint sensor, rapid charging support, and 16MP OIS-capable camera. "The Galaxy S6 destroys HTC’s new One M9 and other flagship Android phones ... on photo quality."
- The Verge's Dieter Bohn gives the S6 8.8/10 stars. "Samsung finally copied the right thing: caring about design." Bohn declares the S6 to have "one of the finest screens I have ever seen on a phone," thanks to a 577 PPI pixel density and improved color awareness. He also calls the device (powered by an 8-core Exynos CPU) "probably the fastest Android phone I’ve ever used."
- BGR's Zach Epstein: "Samsung’s Galaxy S6 features a stunning design that manages to be sleek and elegant, yet modern ... Samsung has raised the bar when it comes to smartphone screens ... Samsung finally stopped obsessing about increasing its [camera] megapixel counts and instead focused on improving its optics, design and software performance ... I’ve never used a phone that charged from empty to full as quickly as this one."
- Samsung's software, though declared to be improved from the S5's (less bloatware, and what remains is often buried), still gets some criticism. Epstein reports seeing a lag with some UI features, and Stern is critical of Samsung's icons and keyboard. Also: Reviewers generally see little reason to pay an extra $100 for the curved S6 Edge, and some Android users might not like the S6's lack of a removable battery or microSD slot.
- Ahead of the reviews, there have been reports Samsung has upped S6 production due to strong early interest. The phone goes on sale on April 10.
- Other reviews: TechCrunch, CNET, Re/code, TechRadar
- Expected S6 suppliers: BRCM, INVN, OLED, SYNA, MXIM, IDTI
- A month ago: Samsung launches metal/glass S6 with Gorilla Glass 4, 2K display, new fingerprint sensor
Thu, Mar. 26, 12:48 AM
- Though there have been a slew of reports stating Samsung (OTC:SSNLF) will be the main supplier for Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) A9 CPU (expected to go into the iPhone 6S/6S+ and next-gen iPad Air), "industry sources" tell Taiwan's Digitimes TSMC (NYSE:TSM) will "remain the major processor supplier for Apple in the second half of 2015."
- The world's biggest foundry will reportedly supply CPUs for the iPhone 6S and 6S+ using a next-gen 16nm FinFET process, and for a cheaper 4" "6C model" via its existing 20nm process (used to make the A8). Cowen previously reported Apple is working on a new 4" iPhone.
- The site qualifies its report by stating Samsung is also expected to be a 6S/6S+ supplier. Samsung recently began producing chips using its next-gen 14nm FinFET process, widely expected to be leveraged for A9 production. Meanwhile, A8 orders have done wonders for TSMC: The company has posted 30%+ Y/Y sales growth for several months in a row.
- In spite of a favorable Digitimes report last night as well (that one was about Q2 sales), shares fell 5.4% today amid a major chip stock rout - volume (32.3M shares) more than doubled a 3-month daily average of 13M. Barron's has reported hearing CFO Lora Ho made cautious comments about near-term demand at a Hong Kong Credit Suisse conference.
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