Qualcomm’s new CEO eyes dominance in the notebook markets

July 1 (Reuters) – Qualcomm Inc’s (QCOM.O) new chief thinks that by following yr his enterprise will have just the chip for laptop computer makers wondering how they can compete with Apple Inc (AAPL.O), which last yr launched laptops using a personalized-built central processor chip that offers more time battery daily life.

Longtime processor suppliers Intel Corp (INTC.O) and Superior Micro Devices (AMD.O) have no chips as vitality effective as Apple’s. Qualcomm Main Government Cristiano Amon informed Reuters on Thursday he believes his company can have the finest chip on the marketplace, with assistance from a staff of chip architects who previously labored on the Apple chip but now do the job at Qualcomm.

In his first interview considering the fact that getting the top job at San Diego, California-primarily based Qualcomm, Amon also claimed the firm is also counting on revenue growth from China to electric power its main smartphone chip enterprise despite political tensions.

“We will go large in China,” he reported, noting that U.S. sanctions on Huawei Technologies Co Ltd (HWT.UL) give Qualcomm an option to deliver a large amount a lot more revenue.

Amon mentioned a cornerstone of his strategy comes from a lesson figured out in the smartphone chip marketplace: It was not plenty of just to provide modem chips for phones’ wi-fi facts connectivity. Qualcomm also desired to offer the brains to flip the phone into a laptop or computer, which it now does for most quality Android equipment.

Now, as Qualcomm seems to press 5G connectivity into laptops, it is pairing modems with a powerful central processor unit, or CPU, Amon reported. In its place of making use of computing core blueprints from longtime partner Arm Ltd, as it now does for smartphones, Qualcomm concluded it needed customized-built chips if its consumers ended up to rival new laptops from Apple.

As head of Qualcomm’s chip division, Amon this 12 months led the $1.4 billion acquisition of startup Nuvia, whose ex-Apple founders assistance style and design some these Apple notebook chips in advance of leaving to sort the startup. Qualcom will get started providing Nuvia-based mostly laptop computer chips next calendar year.

“We wanted to have the major functionality for a battery-run system,” Amon reported. “If Arm, which we have had a marriage with for decades, ultimately develops a CPU which is greater than what we can make ourselves, then we often have the option to license from Arm.”

Arm is in the midst of remaining acquired by Nvidia Corp (NVDA.O) for $40 billion, a merger that Qualcomm has objected to with regulators.

Amon explained Qualcomm has no ideas to construct its very own solutions to enter the other large marketplace for CPUs – data facilities for cloud computing providers. But it will license Nuvia’s layouts to cloud computing companies that want to make their individual chips, which could put it in competition with sections of Arm.

“We are a lot more than keen to leverage the Nuvia CPU belongings to partner with firms that are intrigued as they create their data middle options,” Amon explained.


Cellphone chips accounted for $12.8 billion of its $16.5 billion in chip revenue in its most modern fiscal 12 months. Some of Qualcomm’s greatest customers, these kinds of as telephone maker Xiaomi Corp (1810.HK), are in China.

Qualcomm is counting on income progress as its Android handset consumers swoop in on former buyers of phones from Huawei, which was forced out of the handset market by Washington’s sanctions.

Kevin Krewell, principal analyst at TIRIAS Exploration, termed it a “political minefield” because of to rising U.S.-China tensions. But Amon stated the firm could do enterprise as regular there.

“We license our know-how – we will not have to do forced joint ventures with technology transfers. Our customers in China are present with their agreements, so you see regard for American intellectual assets,” he mentioned.

One more key challenge for Amon will be hanging on to Apple as a consumer. Qualcomm’s modem chips are now in all Apple Iphone 12 types following a bruising legal battle. Apple sued Qualcomm in 2017 but ultimately dropped its claims and signed chip provide and patent license agreements with Qualcomm in 2019.

Apple is now planning chips to displace Qualcomm’s communications chips in iPhones.

“The greatest overhang for Qualcomm’s extended-phrase stock multiple is the fear that ideal now, it truly is as excellent as it gets, since they are shipping and delivery into all the iPhones, but someday, Apple will do those people chips internally,” claimed Michael Walkley, a senior analyst at Canaccord Genuity Team.

Amon mentioned that Qualcomm has many years of expertise designing modem chips that will be difficult for any rival to replicate and that the void in the Android market remaining by Huawei results in new income alternatives for Qualcomm.

“Just for the quality tier alone, the Huawei addressable sector is as big as the Apple chance is for us,” Amon reported.

A further obstacle for Amon, a gregarious executive who is energetic onstage all through keynote shows, will be that Qualcom is not nicely recognized to people in the way that Intel or Nvidia are, even in Qualcomm’s hometown.

“I flew into San Diego and acquired an Uber driver at the airport and advised him I was likely to Qualcomm. He claimed, ‘You imply the stadium?'” Krewell explained, referring to the soccer arena formerly home to the San Diego Chargers.

Amon has started out a new branding method for the firm’s Snapdragon smartphone chips to try out to transform that.

“We have a mature smartphone marketplace currently. Individuals treatment what is powering the glass,” he claimed.

(This story refiles to include lacking phrases in paragraph 19)

Reporting by Stephen Nellis in San Francisco Modifying by David Gregorio

Our Criteria: The Thomson Reuters Have faith in Rules.