George Davis has left semiconductor company Qualcomm earlier this week to become Intel’s new finance chief, according to a CNBC report. Davis was Qualcomm’s CFO for six years since he joined the company in March 2013, and following his leave, Qualcomm has appointed David Wise as interim finance chief until it finds a replacement.
Likewise, Intel has been searching for a CFO since January after Bob Swan left the position to become Intel’s new CEO. Interestingly, Davis and Swan have prior experience working together at Applied Materials Inc. where Bob Swan was a board member until 2016 and Davis served as CFO and Executive Vice President for nearly seven years until 2013.
In a recent statement, Intel’s CEO recognized George Davis’ abilities by claiming he is a “world-class CFO, leader and team-builder” while adding that Intel’s “owners can expect a continued disciplined approach to capital allocation and a relentless focus on creating stockholder value.
On April 2 Qualcomm’s price per share was $58.09 but dipped to $57.70 earlier today, while Intel’s share has a value of $54.36 as of this writing. As for market share, Qualcomm’s semiconductors accounted for 5.5-percent of the market in 2013 and by the end of 2014, the company managed to secure an additional 0.2-percent. However, Qualcomm has been losing ground year-on-year since 2014, recording a market share of 4.8-percent in 2015 and continuing to decline to 3.2-percent in 2018.
Following George Davis’ recent departure from Qualcomm, the rivalry between the two semiconductor giants will likely continue as usual, on the market space and otherwise. For many years semiconductor companies have been locked in a race to design chipsets at increasingly lower scales, but it’s worth noting that although Intel has its own manufacturing lines, Qualcomm does not and the chipmaker relied mostly on TSMC’s foundries to manufacture its own chip designs.
A large portion of Qualcomm’s profits come from patent licensing agreements, and in recent months the chipmaker has been locked in a legal dispute with Apple on account of the latter company allegedly stealing trade secrets from Qualcomm pertaining to modem technologies and providing them to Intel.
Qualcomm filed the lawsuit against Apple in multiple countries including the United States, China, and Germany. As reported by the media earlier this year, Germany concluded that Apple infringed on Qualcomm’s intellectual property resulting in a ban that disallowed the Cupertino-based giant to sell the iPhone 7, 8, and iPhone X in the country. Apple worked around this issue by re-equipping the banned iPhone variants with Qualcomm modems while abandoning Intel’s solution and reselling the devices.
In the meantime, Intel is still having some difficulties with its 10nm chipsets production but the company did introduce the Agilex FPGA series this week which was built on its own 10nm nodes. As for solutions geared more towards the average consumer, Intel unveiled its new Ice Lake microarchitecture in December built on 10nm+ technology, and the company expects Ice Lake to replace Coffee Lake, Cannon Lake, Kaby Lake, and Whiskey Lake throughout 2019 and 2020. Ice Lake will then be replaced by Tiger Lake as an incremental upgrade based on the 10nm node.