iPhone Chipmaker Dialog Expects Single-Digit Revenue Drop Following Completion of Apple Licensing Deal

Apple supplier Dialog Semiconductor on Wednesday reported a slight rise in fourth-quarter operating profit, but warned investors that its revenue in 2019 would decline as it finalizes a deal with Apple to license its iPhone power management technology.


According to Reuters, shares in Dialog rose by nearly 4 percent after its forecast of a single-digit percentage revenue drop this year came in above analysts' predictions of a 9 percent fall.

Last October, Apple agreed to a business arrangement with the German chipmaker to license its iPhone power management technology and transfer technical assets, in a deal worth $600 million.

As part of the agreement, Apple acquired some of the Anglo-German chipmaker's assets and 300 of its R&D staff, or around 16 percent of Dialog's workforce. The deal represents a huge investment for Apple, which will take over Dialog facilities in Italy, Germany, and the U.K., expanding its chip research and development significantly across Europe.

Dialog's shares rose as much as 34 percent on news of the deal, their highest since 2002. The firm's partnership with Apple makes up around 75 percent of its revenue.

The agreement followed a report earlier the same month claiming Apple would design its own power management chips as early as 2018, which came as a serious blow for Dialog, the exclusive designer of the current main power management chip for iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch models.

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iPhone Chipmaker Dialog Reports Low Sales Projection for Fourth Quarter

Apple supplier Dialog Semiconductor reported on Monday that its projected sales for the fourth quarter of 2018 would be at the low end of its original target (via CNET).


The German chipmaker, whose partnership with Apple makes up around 75 percent of its revenue, said its preliminary revenue for Q4 2018 was approximately $431 million. That figure only just falls into the guidance range of $430 million to $470 million the company reported in October.

The news comes just two weeks after Apple lowered its own revenue guidance by up to $9 billion for the first quarter of its 2019 fiscal year.

Apple CEO Tim Cook offered up a number of explanations for the decline, including the timing of the iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR launch compared to the timing of the iPhone X launch last year, a slowing Chinese economy, and the company's $29 battery replacement program, all of which led to fewer iPhone upgrades than expected.

Last October, Apple agreed to a business arrangement with Dialog to license its iPhone power management technology and transfer technical assets, in a deal worth $600 million. Dialog's shares rose as much as 34 percent on the news, their highest since 2002.

As part of the agreement, Apple acquired some of the Anglo-German chipmaker's assets and 300 of its R&D staff, or around 16 percent of Dialog's workforce. The deal represents a huge investment for Apple, which will take over Dialog facilities in Italy, Germany, and the U.K., expanding its chip research and development significantly across Europe. Subject to regulatory approval, the deal is expected to close in the first half of 2019.

The agreement followed a report earlier the same month claiming Apple would design its own power management chips as early as 2018, which came as a serious blow for Dialog, the exclusive designer of the current main power management chip for iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch models.

Dialog's shares initially dropped on news of today's revenue projection, but then climbed in German trading, according to the Financial Times. The company was recently up 2.5 percent, cutting its 12-month loss to roughly 10 percent, said the paper.

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Apple Acquires iPhone Power Management Technology in $600 Million Deal With Chipmaker Dialog

Apple has finalized a business agreement with Dialog Semiconductor to license its iPhone power management technology and transfer technical assets, in a deal worth $600 million.

As part of the agreement, Apple will acquire some of the Anglo-German chipmaker's assets and 300 of its R&D staff, which is around 16 percent of Dialog's workforce. Dialog's shares rose as much as 34 percent on the news, their highest since 2002.


Announcing the deal on Thursday, Dialog said Apple would pay it $300 million in cash for the transaction and prepay a further $300 million for products to be delivered to Apple over the next three years. Commenting on the news, Apple SVP Johny Srouji told TechCrunch:
Dialog has deep expertise in chip development, and we are thrilled to have this talented group of engineers who've long supported our products now working directly for Apple. Our relationship with Dialog goes all the way back to the early iPhones, and we look forward to continuing this long-standing relationship with them.
Dialog shares took a tumble in late 2017 when the company admitted that Apple, its top customer, could build its own power management chips for future iPhones without the chipmaker's help.

The admission came as a serious blow to Dialog, which exclusively designs the current main power management chip for iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch models. Apple reportedly accounted for nearly three quarters of Dialog Semiconductor's revenue in 2016.

However, today's agreement gives Dialog time to reduce its dependence on Apple, which the chipmaker predicts will account for three-quarters of its sales over the course of this year.

Dialog CEO Jalal Bagherli told Reuters the chipmaker could now look forward to a "managed, smooth" transformation of the business as it seeks new opportunities for growth in other markets that could include home speakers, fitness trackers or smart watches.

The deal represents a huge investment for Apple, which will take over Dialog facilities in Italy, Germany, and the U.K., expanding its chip research and development significantly across Europe. Subject to regulatory approval, the deal is expected to close in the first half of 2019.

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Dialog CEO Says Company Will Continue to Supply iPhone Power Management Chips Through 2020

Late last year, Dialog Semiconductor admitted that Apple could build its own power management chips for future iPhones, and no longer rely on the British-based chipmaker for such technology. This weekend, Dialog CEO Jalal Bagherli provided further details on this topic, now expecting Apple to use Dialog chips for "a significant proportion of its devices" in 2019 and 2020 (via Reuters).


When Dialog admitted that Apple could be working on building its own chips, it said there was no risk to its existing supply deals for 2018, and that the company was already in advanced stages of working with Apple on designing "2019-style products" that could lead to commercial contracts by this month. In regards to the 2018 contract, Bagherli said, "Negotiations over that chip are still ongoing. But we expect to deliver a chip design for testing in the customer’s system in the second half of the year."
“Apple at the start of the year commissioned us with the design of chips for many devices for 2019 and 2020,” weekly Euro am Sonntag quoted Bagherli as saying in an interview published on Saturday, without providing details.
Over the past year, Dialog's stock is said to have lost "more than half of its value" on the sole concern of the company losing business from Apple. According to analysts, over 50 percent of Dialog's revenue comes from supplying Apple with power management integrated circuits -- a technology that many believe Apple now has the ability to create in-house.

Rumors of Apple developing its own power management chips began with a prediction by Bankhaus Lampe analyst Karsten Iltgen last spring, who said that Apple would at least cut back on Dialog's supply of the chips for future iPhones. Then, in November, Nikkei corroborated that prediction in a report that stated Apple would replace half of the main power management chips for iPhones with its own by 2019.

The same report claimed that Apple's chip will be "the most advanced in the industry," with processing abilities that allow future iPhones to "better monitor and control power consumption." If these rumors turn out to be true, Apple could transition to supply all of the power management chips for its iPhones in 2021 and beyond.

Apple has confirmed a similar shift in creating its own technology for the iPhone's graphics processing chips, ending a reliance on Imagination Technology's chips by 2019.

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Dialog Shares Continue to Fall After Company Admits Apple Could Design Own iPhone Battery Chips

Dialog Semiconductor admitted on Monday that Apple, its top customer, could build its own power management chips for future iPhones without relying on the British-based chipmaker (via Reuters). The comments saw Dialog shares tumble as much as 19 percent, despite the firm claiming there was no risk to its existing supply deals in 2018.

Dialog said it was already in the advanced stages of working with Apple on designing "2019-type products" that could lead to commercial contracts by next March.

"Our position remains that we have seen no material change to our ongoing relationship with Apple Inc," Chief Executive Jalal Bagherli told investors on a conference call.

However, the company acknowledged for the first time that "Apple has the resources and capability to internally design a PMIC and could potentially do so in the next few years".
A report last week claiming Apple would design its own power management chips as early as 2018 came as a serious blow for Dialog, which exclusively designs the current main power management chip for iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch models. Apple reportedly accounted for nearly three quarters of Dialog Semiconductor's revenue in 2016.

Dialog's PMIC chip controls an iPhone's battery, including charging capabilities and energy consumption. Apple's own design will supposedly be "the most advanced in the industry", according to Nikkei Asian Review, and could enable future iPhones to have a better balance between performance and battery consumption. Taiwanese supplier TSMC will be the exclusive manufacturer of Apple's in-house power management chip, according to the report.

Since last week's report, Dialog shares have lost nearly a third of their value. At one point this morning they were down 15.2 percent at 26.47 euros ($31.38), according to Reuters.
Bagherli said Apple's feedback so far on 2019 product plans had been 
"very good" and that he expected to have more clarity by March on the terms of new business from Apple for 2019. Dialog would update investors when it had more details, he said.

Semiconductor suppliers are typically barred by Apple from revealing their supply relationships. Dialog, which has previously declined to name Apple, referring to it only obliquely as its "largest customer" or its "main business", said it had received a special dispensation from Apple to mention it.
Dialog emphasized that it had no reason to believe its 2018 business with Apple would be affected if Apple chose to design its own chips, but acknowledged that it would need to meet the company's "technology, quality, price, and volume expectations" if it wanted to remain a key supplier.

Dialog Semiconductor may turn out to be the second large British company to lose major business from Apple with the next couple of years. In April, Imagination Technologies shares plunged after Apple informed the firm it plans to stop using its PowerVR graphics technology in its devices by mid-2019.

Apple looks on course to start designing several other components in-house in the next few years, potentially including ARM-based Mac processors and iPhone modems.

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iPhone Batteries Could Have Apple-Designed Power Management Chips Within Two Years

Apple is designing its own power management chips for use in iPhones within the next two years, according to Nikkei Asian Review.
Apple's new in-house power management chip would be the most advanced in the industry, according to the sources, and could have processing capabilities that allow it to better monitor and control power consumption among various components. That means iPhone users could expect devices capable of delivering better performance on lower power consumption.
Apple plans to replace around half of the main power management chips that go into iPhones with its own as early as 2018, but the transition could be delayed until 2019, according to anonymous sources cited in the report.

If the report is accurate, it could be a serious blow for Dialog Semiconductor, the British company that exclusively designs the current main power management chip for iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch models. Apple reportedly accounted for nearly three quarters of Dialog Semiconductor's revenue in 2016.

The main power management chip controls an iPhone's battery, including charging capabilities and energy consumption. Apple's in-house version will supposedly be "the most advanced in the industry," which could pave the way for future iPhone models to have a better performance-to-battery life balance.

Taiwanese supplier TSMC will be the exclusive manufacturer of Apple's in-house power management chip, according to the report.

Today's report corroborates a prediction by Bankhaus Lampe analyst Karsten Iltgen, who earlier this year said that Apple will at least partially cut back on Dialog Semiconductor's supply of power management chips for future iPhones. Iltgen said Apple already has engineers working on the chips in California and Germany.

Dialog responded to the report with a statement claiming that "business relationships are in line with the normal course of business." The company's stock fell nearly 20 percent after the news broke.

Dialog Semiconductor could be the second large British company to lose significant business from Apple within the next year or two. In April, Imagination Technologies shares plunged after Apple informed the firm it plans to stop using its PowerVR graphics technology in its devices within two years.

Apple appears to be moving towards in-house design of several components, potentially including ARM-based Mac processors and iPhone modems.


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