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Qualcomm updates on chip shortages, Huawei upswing

Qualcomm reported quarterly revenues and profits above expectations, and said it expects to perform better during the next few months than analysts had anticipated.

Perhaps more importantly, the company said it expects to resolve shortages of key chipsets by the end of this year – and the company said that's about the same time it expects to begin gaining business from the troubles dragging at Huawei's smartphone operation.

"It's going to get better at the end of the year," said incoming Qualcomm CEO Cristiano Amon during the company's quarterly earnings call Wednesday. He said he expects to see a "material improvement in [chipset] supply by end of 2021."

That's important considering Qualcomm is one of the world's biggest suppliers for mobile phone chipsets. Such products are among the many electronics that have been impacted by a global chipset shortage. Although some suppliers in the industry have suggested that the shortages might not affect the mobile phone industry directly, Qualcomm's CFO offered a relatively worrisome picture of the current situation.

Qualcomm's Akash Palkhiwala said the shortages are affecting "all of our vectors," including products for phones, IoT devices and automobiles. He declined to affix a dollar figure to the situation, but said it's "a very significant number" and that Qualcomm's most recent quarter would have been "much better off" without the shortages.

However, Qualcomm's results and outlook overshadowed any worries investors may have had about the shortages. Indeed, Qualcomm said it now expects to reap up to $10 billion in additional revenues in the phone industry due to the troubles of China's Huawei. The handset maker was one of the world's largest suppliers of mobile phones before the US government cut into its business; Huawei's resulting retreat from the phone industry is pushing more business into Qualcomm's arms.

"It's going to be one of the largest growth drivers for our mobile business," Amon said of the developments in Huawei's phone business.

Overall, Qualcomm reported a 52% year-over-year increase in its revenues and a massive jump in its net income, to $1.8 billion. The company also issued a forecast for its coming quarter that was higher than most analysts expected.

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Mike Dano, Editorial Director, 5G & Mobile Strategies, Light Reading | @mikeddano

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