1st April 2013

My analyst series - Qualcomm (QCOM)

Another one on Qualcomm (QCOM)

Lead in mobile integrated chipset and wireless – Snapdragon series, wireless technology patents/licensing
Announced CMOS Power Amplifiers alternative to GaAs PAs for mid-high tiered 3G/4G smartphones

China market focus
- Well positioned to ride on China Mobile’s LTE wave (China Mobile announced spending $6.7b in 4G tech this year)
QCOM chips were in 14 of the 31 terminals selected for trial by China Mobile in Dec ’12 - nearest rival with 4 was Sequans.
- Biz model with local mobile chipset design companies and the system/handset manufacturers for licensing royalties

Major Revenue segments – licensing and sales
While in the last couple of years, QTL’s revenues were higher than that of QCT, QCOM is looking at double digits growth for both biz segments and QCT’s growth to be substantially higher than that of QTL.

Strong focus & investment in R&D
R&D in Q1 fiscal 2013 was 1.1B (18% of revenues)

Vertical integration for mobile eco-system
- Accelerating the commercialization of its Pixtronix MEMS displays using Sharp’s IGZO tech – Note however that the deadline for giving Sharp the 2nd half of $120m investment from QCOM has been extended now to June (due to some specs conditions not being met by Sharp)
- Ride on Internet of Things: Amongst others - Alljoyn and FlashLinq
- Moving beyond devices into wireless backhaul – DesignArt acquisition last year

Strong Financials
- Q1 ’13 earnings: $6b quarterly revenues (a 29% y-o-y increase), $1.91b profit (36% increase over previous year)
- Full-year revenue guidance to a range of $23.4 billion to $24.4 billion from its previous target of $23 billion to $24 billion.

posted in Semiconductor, Business, Fabless, 3G, Qualcomm, Ecosystem, Internet of Things, IoT, chip, connectivity, Mobile, 4G | 0 Comments

25th June 2012

Mediatek’s offer to buy MStar

Two compatriots for long at loggerheads have decided to join forces and take on the competition. News about Taiwanese chip designer MediaTek’s offer to buy rival MStar has created quite a buzz and water cooler speculation…. and of course the stock market. MStar was up 6.85 percent (maximum allowed in a session), while MediaTek gained 2.37 percent today.

My two cents’ worth addition to the buzz …..
- This acquisition will create the world’s fourth largest chip designer with total annual sales of US$4.2 billion in 2011

- The combined entity will have an almost 70% market share (a monopoly position??) in the TV SoC biz (DisplaySearch’s Q4’11 data put the two companies’ combined market share as 68.8%).

- Combined R&D resources and not looking over the shoulder for price cutting competition from the previous arch rivals can potentially sharpen the focus and product offering

- On the mobile phones arena: High end 3G smartphone chips along side the 2G ones for feature phones will consolidate & expand MediaTek’s mobile phone chip offering, especially in the emerging markets – more so in China where it has seen its once dominant position threatened by Spreadtrum and the likes (incidentally, MediaTek recently lost a TDSCDMA/WCDMA 3G chip socket in Samsung smartphone to Spreadtrum)

- And most importantly, it positions MediaTek well in an increasingly connected device market. With the growing convergence across platforms – TV, mobile phones, tablets/computing devices – it is crucial to integrate the relevant technologies across them so as to optimally and cost effectively leverage the same across the various platforms (Qualcomm announced a new Snapdragon for smart TVs and set top boxes in CES early this year and then at Computex later, it demonstrated its Smart TV reference platform with its quad-core Snapdragon S4 APQ8064 and MPQ8064 playing games and slinging TV frames. In E3 ’12 (Electronic Entertainment Expo), Samsung’s Smart TV included access to Nvidia’s new cloud gaming platform, GeForce Grid. Marvell too showcased its total solutions across Smart TVs, cloud computing and connectivity at Mobile World Congress)

- Concern: Talent retention/Integration of the combined work force. With almost 80% of MStar’s engineers doing the same work as folks at MediaTek, how will the parent entity avoid overlapping resources and address the potential loss (if not exodus) of talent?

posted in Semiconductor, Business, Communciation, Fabless, Industry Events, Mergers & Acquistions, 3G, MIDs, Samsung, Qualcomm, MediaTek, Spreadtrum, MStar | 0 Comments

29th October 2010

Percello’s acquisition by Broadcom

Broadcom has paid $86m net of cash for Israeli femtocell IC specialist Percello in a bid to lower the BOM, and accelerate time to market, for its femtocell chip offerings. This comes close on the heels of acquiring the WiMAX prpovder, Beceem Communications.

The big fabless company’s acquisition does signify an endorsing of a real demand for femtocells. It is also now well positioned to take advantage of the relationship Percello has already cultivated with Ubiquisys, probably the number one in femtocell access point vendors.

Linley Gwennap, founder and principal analyst at Linley Group had correctly predicted in a talk to EETimes earlier -“The incremental cost of the femto function would be around $10. This could ultimately require the femto processor to integrate Ethernet and Wi-Fi as well as DSL or cable-modem. Broadcom is the obvious company to develop such a chip.”

Interconnectivity is getting more and more interesting! And hey, this is Broadcom’s sixth acquisition in Israel – and it already has 3 development centres there.

posted in Semiconductor, Business, Communciation, Mergers & Acquistions, 3G | 0 Comments

17th October 2007

Broadcom unveils 3G integrated chip

Broadcom Corp has announced that it has developed an integrated 3G high-speed wireless cell phone chip ahead of bigger rivals like TI and Qualcomm. The news has sent up its shares by as much as 3 percent while those of TI and Qualcomm dropped.

The BCM21551 combines a 3G baseband transceiver, Bluetooth 2.1, and a multiband RF transceiver on a single chip. The chip also includes an FM radio transmitter & receiver for playback through a car stereo as well as support for a 5 megapixel camera, and advanced multimedia processing. Support for WiFi or GPS will need to come from a separate chip. The chip is available for customer testing and poses a competitive threat to other wireless chip makers like Infineon, NXP and Freescale. Analysts have been guessing off-late when a 3G iPhone might arrive (Apple’s recent deal with Interdigital has fuelled rumours of a 3G iPhone debut around Christmas this year). Broadcom expects the first phones using BCM21551 to come on the market in 2009. So while most likely the first set of 3G iPhones will have the 3G radio equipment provided by Infineon chipsets, the market may soon see other handsets with this integrated chip.

posted in Product, 3G | 1 Comment

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