Investors dump Silicon Motion on Qualcomm fears


Silicon Motion Technology Corporation (NASDAQ: SIMO) has been a Wall Street favorite for more than a year, more than doubling in price between September and February. But today things took a very different turn and the Taiwanese chipmaker saw its shares tumble more than 7% after an analyst at Detwiler Fenton told clients that Qualcomm’s (QCOM) integrated 3G/LTE baseband processors could be a major threat.

Silicon Motion Technology sells LTE transceivers to Samsung, and thus has been seen by many investors as a good LTE-play. But Qualcomm’s baseband processors integrate transceivers, so if Samsung transitions to these it would not need SIMO’s transceivers. Of course there is no guarantee that Samsung will source baseband processors from Qualcomm for its LTE smartphones — the Korean giant makes its own LTE baseband, which it currently uses with the Silicon Motion transceivers.

In addition to LTE transceivers, Silicon Motion also make flash memory cards, USB flash drives, and solid state drives (SSDs), as well as embedded graphics processors. In the fourth quarter of 2011, transceivers represented less than a quarter of the company’s sales volume. Mobile communications products, including transceivers, accounted for 22% of the company’s $67.1 million Q4 revenue, and mobile storage products accounted for 70%.

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Martha DeGrasse

Wireless Martha DeGrasse has been creating content for RCR Wireless News since 2011. Recent feature reports include Building Tomorrow's Neworks, Outdoor DAS and Small Cell Case Studies, Wireless Infrastructure Service Company Review, and Investing in HetNets. (All of these can be found by clicking on Reports at the top of this page.) At RCR, Martha also developed the 5 Things to Know Today series and the Mobile Minute. Prior to joining RCR Wireless News, Martha produced business and technology news for CNN and Dow Jones in New York. Martha left Dow Jones to move to Austin, Texas, where she managed the online editorial group at Hoover’s Online before taking a number of years off to be at home when her children were young. Follow her on Twitter @mdegrasseRCR