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Qualcomm Reports Second-Highest Earnings Quarter on Record Amid Global Semiconductor Shortage

Here’s what you should know about Qualcomm’s latest earnings—and the chips that brought in the money
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Francis Scialabba

· less than 3 min read

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On Wednesday, Qualcomm brought home an earnings report card stacked with As—thanks to lots and lots of chips.

The bright side

At about $8.24 billion, last quarter’s revenue was the second-highest on record—up 62% year-over-year.

Breakup tech → makeup tech: After burying the hatchet on a two-year legal dispute with Apple, Qualcomm began supplying iPhone processors again in 2020—which led to an 81% revenue increase for its chip business.

New chip flavor: RF front end chips are one of Qualcomm’s newest moneymakers. The 5G-friendly semiconductors live near a smartphone’s antenna and brought in $1 billion last quarter (more than 2x this time last year).

The plight side

Bullish Wall Street analysts had been expecting an A+, in the form of $8.25 billion in revenue. Qualcomm pointed to the global semiconductor shortage as the primary reason for the difference.

  • A combination of poor planning from automakers and surging demand for consumer electronics and IoT chips caused a litany of silicon supply chain issues.

Looking ahead: “The shortage in the semiconductor industry is across the board,” said Cristiano Amon, president and CEO-elect, on the earnings call. “We expect…this to normalize toward the later part of 2021 as capacity is put in place.”

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