Qualcomm to slash 15pc of workforce as chip demand slows

23 Jul 2015

The Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego

Smartphone chipmaker Qualcomm — maker of the Snapdragon processor — is to slash 15pc of its workforce amidst a global slowdown in chip demand and pressure from an activist investor.

Qualcomm, a US$105bn technology powerhouse, employs 31,000 people worldwide and believes it could cut US$1.1bn a year in annual costs by cutting 4,500 workers by 2016.

Qualcomm, which operates a global R&D operation in Cork and is an investor in Dublin tech firm Cubic Telecom, has been under pressure since activist hedge fund Jana Partners acquired a US$2bn stake in the company.

Jana has been campaigning for the splitting of Qualcomm’s chip business from its patent-licensing arm, which accounts for two-thirds of revenues.

The company’s chip unit, Qualcomm CDMA Technologies, has suffered from being shut out of the most profitable part of the mobile market.

Despite Snapdragon processors being nearly universal in Android handsets, the company lost a vital contract with Samsung and Qualcomm has no foothold in the powerful iPhone market.

Qualcomm Stadium image via Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years