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Nov 1, 2017

Demand for modem, IoT chips help Qualcomm top estimates

Qualcomm's Snapdragon technology

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Qualcomm Inc's fourth-quarter profit and revenue beat market expectations as strength in its smartphone chips business was complemented by demand for chips used in automobiles and for the Internet of Things (IoT).

Qualcomm, which has been fighting a legal battle on many fronts with Apple Inc (AAPL.O), said revenue from areas other than smartphones was more than US$3 billion in its latest fiscal year, up more than 25 per cent from last year.

Revenue from Qualcomm's chip unit, which supplies both Android smartphone makers and Apple, rose 13 per cent in the latest quarter. Licensing revenue, which includes royalties mostly from Apple, sank 36 per cent.

Reuters reported earlier this week that Apple would drop the Qualcomm's chips altogether from its iPhones and iPads from next year, the latest salvo in a longstanding dispute between the two companies.

Apple sued Qualcomm in January, accusing it of overcharging for chips and of refusing to pay some US$1 billion in promised rebates. Qualcomm also sued some Apple contract manufacturers in April over royalty payments and is trying to ban the sale of iPhones in China.

"We really try to compartmentalize our engagement with Apple ... [and] we do have a lot of engagement with the company and we do speak [and] engage on a daily basis with them across multiple areas," Chief Executive Steve Mollenkopf told analysts on a conference call.

Qualcomm continues to exclude from its forecast revenue related to the sale of Apple products by the iPhone maker's contract manufacturers as well as another licensee in dispute.

It forecast current-quarter revenue of US$5.5 billion to US$6.3 billion and adjusted earnings of 88 cents US to 95 cents US per share.

Analysts were expecting revenue of US$5.90 billion and a profit of 90 cents US per share, per Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

While Qualcomm and Apple would be better off with each other, Qualcomm will do just fine even if that's not the case, Moor Insights & Strategy analyst Patrick Moorhead said.

Qualcomm also reported better-than expected profit and sales for the fourth quarter, despite earnings tumbling nearly 90 per cent due to a US$778 million charge related to a fine imposed by the Taiwan Fair Trade Commission for anti-trust violations.

The company' adjusted earnings of 92 cents US per share beat estimates of 81 cents US. Revenue fell 4.5 per cent to US$5.91 billion, but topped estimates of US$5.80 billion.

Its shares were marginally higher in after-hours trading.