Despite some major setbacks over the course of the year, Qualcomm has reportedly beat out its profit and revenue expectations for Q4 2017 thanks to an uptick in sales for its vehicle and Internet of Things (IoT) chipsets. In fact, the premiere Android SoC manufacturer has reported a 25-percent increase in revenue from smartphones from last year – with revenue from outside of the smartphone industry topping $3 billion. Meanwhile, revenue from smartphone chipsets was up 13-percent.
However, things aren't all looking up for Qualcomm and the gains have certainly not been easy. Licensing revenue, for example, has dropped by 36 percent over the last quarter and that number is expected to get worse with Apple allegedly vowing to drop its use of Qualcomm-made chips in both its tablets and handsets. That follows a lawsuit between the two companies, which started back in January and centered around Qualcomm's alleged refusal to pay Apple rebates. Qualcomm, of course, filed a countersuit for licensing royalties. Beyond that, the company faced another setback just last month, when its earnings dropped by 90-percent, following anti-trust charges from the Taiwan Fair Trade Commission. Those charges, of course, followed still earlier charges from December of 2016, originating from South Korea. The more recent charges equated to around $773 million in fines for the company, while last year's charges saw Qualcomm paying $854 million. In both cases, the company was accused of taking advantage of its market leadership position to charge both for its hardware and for licensing on that hardware – in addition to allegedly restricting rivals from accessing its patents.
Despite all of those things, Qualcomm has also managed to beat out its own overall fourth-quarter profits and sales forecast – which predicted revenues between $5.5 billion and $6.3 billion. Meanwhile, market analyst expectations for revenue fell within that range and were subsequently surpassed as well – with analyst expectations initially set at $5.9 billion. That the company managed to push through its difficulties with its automobile-based silicone and chips for the IoT – which presumably includes SoC's for wearables, among other things – shouldn't be altogether surprising. Qualcomm has effectively carved out a name as a defacto standard in modern chipsets across the board, with the exception of those chips used in PCs and laptops. In the meantime, interest in self-driving automobiles and the marketability of IoT devices have been on the rise over the past year.