Apple Troubles Weigh on Qualcomm’s Financial Results

For Qualcomm, there are so many external tornadoes swirling around its business -- ranging from its patent war with Apple to its slow-moving bid to acquire NXP Semiconductors -- that its financial results almost take a back seat.

So even though the San Diego cellular technology giant posted solid results for its fiscal fourth quarter Wednesday, Wall Street analysts were looking for updates from executives on bigger questions.

They included the high-profile lawsuits with Apple over patent royalties; potential delays and price re-negotiation of the proposed $38 billion acquisition of NXP; the status of legal appeals on hefty fines from global anti-monopoly regulators; and the prospect of Apple ditching Qualcomm's chips from future iPhones.

There were partial answers to some of these questions, particularly regarding NXP acquisition and legal matters. In the headline-grabbing dispute with Apple, Qualcomm appears to be prepared for a long fight.

"We remain focused on defending our business and our patented inventions for the long term," said Chief Executive Steve Mollenkopf in a conference call with analysts.

For its fiscal fourth quarter ended Sept. 25, Qualcomm reported revenue of $5.9 billion and net income of $200 million, or 11 cents per share, under Generally Accepted Accounting Principles.

That's down from $6.2 billion in revenue and earnings of $1.6 billion, or $1.07 per share, for the same quarter last year.

The decline stemmed in part from Apple withholding patent royalty payments to Qualcomm beginning this spring as a result of the companies' legal spat -- which has cut Qualcomm's revenue by roughly $500 million a quarter.

Qualcomm previously forecast GAAP earnings of 55 cents to 65 cents per share in the fourth quarter, but that prediction was derailed by a $778 million charge (52 cents per share) for a fine imposed by the Taiwan Fair Trade Commission last month.

Qualcomm intends to appeal the judgment in...

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