Loss of share with Samsung, delays in product launches by certain smartphone vendors and a competitive squeeze in China took the blame as Qualcomm downgraded its full-year outlook.
The company forecast $25 billion to $27 billion in FY2015 revenue against its previous estimate of $26 billion to $28 billion. Qualcomm reported $26.5 billion revenue in 2014.
Speaking at the company’s fiscal Q2 2015 results, CEO Steve Mollenkopf (pictured) professed himself pleased with the current quarter, thanks to record licensing revenue. However, the rest of 2015 is a different story.
“While we are ahead of our expectations in the first half of the fiscal year, we are guiding the second half lower due to a number of factors in QCT. First, the extent of the impact of OEM concentration at the premium tier and the impact of share loss in the Galaxy S6 and Note,” he said.
Qualcomm has been hit by neither Apple nor Samsung using its chips as the main processor in their latest devices. The Samsung loss is harder to take since Qualcomm had previously been an incumbent but was dropped from the Korean vendor’s latest Galaxy S6 and Note, in favour of an inhouse counterpart.
The CEO also cast a doleful glance at the “altered launch plans of the OEMs in the premium tier with some OEMs delaying launches and then OEMs rationalising their portfolio by deemphasising designs using our legacy parts”.
“We are not seeing a change in design share or the competitive environment, but rather a change in timing of some [Snapdragon] 810 designs,” he added.
However he did talk up the prospects of new launches from Qualcomm clients LG, Sony and Xiaomi.
Despite the resolution of its anti-trust case in the country, China still causes a different type of headache. The market’s contribution to earnings was roughly flat with greater strength in the premier tier offset by share loss in the low tier in the fourth quarter. This is a near-term trend that the company expects to improve with the launch of new parts and the market’s transition to a new Qualcomm modem later this year.
The company is also looking to clamp down on costs. “We have begun a comprehensive assessment of costs and opportunities for greater efficiency company-wide with the help of an outside expert and will be reporting on those initiatives on the Q3 earnings call,” said Mollenkopf.
Qualcomm faces pressure from hedge fund Jana Partners to break up its chipmaking operation, which generates most of its revenue, from its patent royalty businesses, its prime profit generator.
Revenue in Q2 2015 rose by 8 per cent to $6.9 billion, while net income slumped to $1.1 billion from $2 billion in the year-ago period.