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iPhone Competitors: RIM

Posted on Tuesday, Aug 7th 2007

Starting with this post on RIM, I will look at some major players that the iPhone will be competing with. An earlier post on RIM can provide good background for this post. In it, I have suggested that RIM does not directly compete with the iPhone, because of its prosumer focus, whereas the iPhone is a consumer media phone.

RIM(Nasdaq: RIMM) is a leading designer and manufacturer in mobile communications industry with revenue of $3.04 billion and 6,250 employees in fiscal 2007. RIM is the king of the converged mobile devices market for the enterprise or prosumers with over 9 million subscriber accounts. As per IDC, RIM is second behind Nokia in the converged mobile devices market for Q4 2006. >>>

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Apple Since Launch of the iPhone

Posted on Tuesday, Jul 31st 2007

It has been a month since the launch of the iPhone and in this post we will see how Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) has been doing since the launch.

Following the launch, estimates of the first weekend sales of iPhone took the figure to an over optimistic and ridiculous level of 700,000. The announcements from AT&T and Apple brought it down to 146,000 activations and 270,000 sales (including accessories, it appears). Though it looks modest in comparison to the earlier estimates, it is nevertheless a strong sale and Apple expects to sell 1 million iPhones in the first three months. May be more. The iPod took a bit of time to hit its stride, and there is no reason for the iPhone to not follow suite. >>>

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iPhone’s Component Ecosystem: Infineon

Posted on Monday, Jul 30th 2007

This post on Infineon will be the last in the series of posts analyzing the major players in the iPhone’s component ecosystem. In the iPhone, Infineon provides the digital baseband through a PMB8876 S-Gold 2 multimedia engine with EDGE functionality, a radio-frequency transceiver and power-management devices. As per iSuppli, these parts account for $15.25 or a big fat 6.1% of the iPhone’s 8 Gb model’s cost.

Infineon Technologies (NYSE: IFX) is a leading German semiconductor company with revenue of €7.93 billion (including Qimonda sales of €3.8 billion) and 41,600 employees in 2006. Its business is organized in two main segments: 1) Automotive, Industrial & Multimarket, which provides automotive, industrial, and security applications and 2) Communication Solutions, which provides wireline and wireless communication applications. It used to have a Memory Products unit that spun off as a stand-alone subsidiary, Qimonda in May, 2006 and in August it went public on NYSE. >>>

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iPhone’s Component Ecosystem: Balda

Posted on Thursday, Jul 26th 2007

One of the most important features of the iPhone is its touch screen that is highly flexible and allows rotating, zooming, panning, scrolling and flipping using multi-finger gestures on the screen. The German company Balda is the supplier of this glass-surfaced touch screen that has sharper resolution, better resistance to scratches or smudges, and better sensitivity than the plastic displays. Estimated to cost around $27, the touch screen accounts for 10.8 % of the 8 GB iPhone model’s cost.

Balda AG (DE: BDGA) was earlier known to develop and manufacture plastic components for mobile telephones, mobile fixed line telephones, and base stations. In 2006, it acquired 50% of the shares in the TPK holding (TPK) in Xiamen in China for €59.5 million. TPK is a manufacturer of innovative touch screen solutions. In our components series, we look at Balda next. >>>

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iPhone’s Component Ecosystem: Intel

Posted on Wednesday, Jul 25th 2007

In this post, we will be analyzing Intel as part of the series on the major players in the iPhone’s component ecosystem. In the iPhone, Intel provides a wireless flash with 32 Mbytes of NOR coupled with 16 Mbytes of SRAM for code execution.

Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC) is the world’s largest chip manufacturer with revenues of $35.4 billion and 94,100 employees in 2006. Its core products include microprocessors, chip-sets, motherboards, flash memory, wired and wireless connectivity products, and communications infrastructure components. Its operations are organized into Digital Enterprise Group, Mobility Group, Flash Memory Group, Digital Home Group, Digital Health Group, and Channel Platforms Group.

Digital Enterprise Group accounted for 56% of its consolidated net revenue in 2006 and sales from microprocessors within the group accounted for 41% of its consolidated net revenue.

Mobility Group accounted for 35% of consolidated net revenue in 2006 and the sales of microprocessors within the Mobility Group made up 26% of consolidated net revenue. To focus on its core businesses, Intel sold its Xscale communications-chip division in the Mobility Group for $600 million to Marvell Technology Group, Ltd (MRVL) in Q4 2006. >>>

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iPhone Component Ecosystem: National Semiconductor

Posted on Monday, Jul 23rd 2007

In this post, we will be analyzing National Semiconductor as part of the series on the major players in the iPhone’s component ecosystem. In the iPhone, National Semiconductor supplies the 24-bit RGB serial display interface which connects the display to the graphics controller.

National Semiconductor (NYSE: NSM), with a market cap of $8.60 billion, is a leading analog company based in Santa Clara, California. Its main products include power management circuits, display drivers, audio and operational amplifiers, communication interface products, and data conversion solutions. Its operations are organized in two groups: the Power Management Group and the Analog Signal Path Group as well as three other business units that address displays, device connectivity, and ASIC & telecom. In fiscal 2006, approximately 86% of its revenues were generated from analog-based products. In June 2005, to focus on its core analog businesses, the company sold its cordless business unit in Europe to HgCapital.

On the financial front, in Q4 2007, National reported net income of $90.1 million, or 28 cents per share, on sales of $455.9 million. This is an increase of 5.8% from the previous quarter, which saw sales of $431.0 million and earnings of 22 cents per share. However, it is a year-on-year decline of 20.4% compared to Q4 2006 sales of $572.6 million and earnings of 34 cents per share. >>>

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iPhone’s Component Ecosystem: Micron

Posted on Friday, Jul 20th 2007

In this post, we will be analyzing Micron as part of the series analyzing the major players in the iPhone’s component ecosystem. The 2-megapixel camera mounted on the back of the iPhone is powered by an imaging chip from Micron.

Micron Technology Inc. (NYSE: MU) with revenues of $5.3 billion in 2006 is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of semiconductor devices. Apart from CMOS image sensors, its core products include DRAM and NAND Flash memory. To reduce its exposure to the volatile DRAM market, it is expanding into specialty memory products, NAND Flash memory products, and CMOS image sensors. >>>

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iPhone’s Component Ecosystem: Texas Instruments

Posted on Tuesday, Jul 17th 2007

In an earlier post, we looked at iPhone’s components where I had mentioned that Texas Instruments could possibly be providing the power management device. This mystery has still not been solved but Texas Instruments looks to be the best bet.

Texas Instruments Incorporated (TI) (NYSE: TXN) with revenues of 14.25 billion and $7.26 billion gross profit in 2006 is the world’s third largest semiconductor company. Based in Dallas, it has 31,000 employees in more than 25 countries.

The company has two primary business divisions: Semiconductor and Education Technology. The Semiconductor division, with core products lines of analog semiconductors and Digital Signal Processors (DSPs), is the breadwinner for TI bringing in more than 90% of revenue. It had another division, Sensors & Control that it sold minus the radio frequency identification (RFID) systems operations to an affiliate of Bain Capital, LLC, for $3 billion in April, 2006. Earlier in 2006, it acquired Chipcon Group ASA, a leading company that designs short-range, low-power wireless radio frequency (RF) transceivers for $183 million. >>>

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iPhone’s Component Ecosystem: ST Micro

Posted on Monday, Jul 16th 2007

One of the coolest features of the iPhone is the orientation sensor that detects whether you are holding the phone vertically or horizontally and automatically changes the display to portrait or landscape. ST Micro is the supplier for this orientation sensor, also known as the LIS302 accelerometer. Considering the estimated price of $2.95 per unit, the ST Micro accelerometer accounts for around 1.3% of iPhone’s component price.

ST Microelectronics N.V. (NYSE: STM) with net revenues of US$9.85 billion in 2006 is the world’s fifth largest semiconductor company. Based in Geneva, the company is the largest semiconductor supplier in Europe and the 3rd largest in China. >>>

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iPhone’s Component Ecosystem: Marvell

Posted on Friday, Jul 13th 2007

In this post, we will be analyzing Marvell as part of the series analyzing major players in the iPhone’s component ecosystem. A related, speculative post about Marvell written prior to the iPhone’s release may also be worth reading.

Marvell Technology Group (NASDAQ: MRVL) is a global leader in storage, communications, and consumer silicon solutions. It was founded in 1995 and has more than 5000 employees. In 2006, it had $1.67 billion in revenue with a loss of $12 million. On a positive front, its sales increased 34% to $2.24 billion in 2006. The company bought Intel’s Xscale communications-chip division for $600 million. Though this acquisition has added to its growth, it has affected its profitability. The company expects the effect to last till the summer of 2008.

In Apple’s iPhone, Marvell provides a wireless connectivity device, 88W8686, a 90-nm WLAN part. On the launch of the iPhone on June 29th, its stock price rose $1, or 5.8%, to $18.2. >>>

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