Apple will drop Qualcomm modems in next iPhone, Qualcomm says

  • Almost a year after it was first reported Apple could drop Qualcomm modems in future products, Qualcomm has finally acknowledged the rumor and is gearing up for the loss.
  • On a call with investors following a solid earnings beat, Qualcomm CFO George Davis said the company fully expects Apple to dump Qualcomm in favor of "competitors' modems" for its next product launch.
A pedestrian passes a sign on the Qualcomm campus in San Diego, California.
Mike Blake | Reuters
A pedestrian passes a sign on the Qualcomm campus in San Diego, California.

Almost a year after it was reported Apple could drop Qualcomm modems in future products, Qualcomm has finally acknowledged the rumor and is gearing up for the loss.

On a call with investors following a solid earnings beat, Qualcomm CFO George Davis said the company fully expects Apple to dump Qualcomm in favor of "competitors' modems" for its next product launch.

"We believe Apple intends to solely use our competitors’ modems, rather than our modems in its next iPhone release," Davis said. "We will continue to provide modems for Apple legacy devices."

The competitors almost certainly include Intel.

Qualcomm has for several years supplied Apple's modems, but Intel has provided upwards of half of Apple's chips for iPhones in recent years, amid licensing disputes between Apple and Qualcomm. In October 2017, Reuters reported Apple was designing iPhones and iPads without Qualcomm chips, and that the change could hit products released in fall of 2018.

Despite its business losses, Qualcomm president Cristiano Amon seemed optimistic about the company's position in the market, as well as its future relationship with Apple.

"We feel pretty good about our modem leadership...and we will continue to be investing on the modem," Qualcomm president Cristiano Amon said.

“If the opportunity presents itself, I think we will be a supplier of Apple," he added.

Qualcomm shares were up more than 5 percent after hours on the earnings report and a larger buyback as the company abandoned its pursuit of semiconductor company NXP.

Shares of Intel edged up about half a percent in extended trading, before erasing those gains. Apple shares fell about 1.1 percent.