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Apple deleted a job listing that hints at plans to cut Qualcomm and Intel chips (businessinsider.com)
101 points by lnguyen 9 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 41 comments

Are we sure they didn’t just... hire someone?

They could have certainly put out the job posting for visa reasons :)


The amount of extrapolation seems a bit extreme - one deleted job opening shouldn't mean anything. But I guess in the age of clickbait journalism everything goes.

If you consider just this one data point yes, it may seem far-fetched. But if you connect it with all the other data points from all the other rumors, then whose to say it's over reaction?

Sort of related:

For a while now I’ve been thinking that a product that helps you monitor your competitor’s job postings could be pretty interesting. Anyone here find value in that concept? It wouldn’t be for finding a job necessarily, but instead to keep a pulse on the potential health/direction of those in your niche.

I'm sure investors probably pay attention to that already. That would be an interesting thing to game, actually.

I often check the job listings of competitors to see what they are up to, so using this as part of a "what are these companies up to" (patent filings, job listings, various updates) would be good. It's a hard problem because some companies generate a lot of noise (unenlightening press), or some companies are large so have lots to talk about in areas that don't matter to me, but typically most startups generate so little noise that simply sending me 100% of new news, website changes etc would be useful.

Thanks for the reply! Would you be at all interested in chatting a bit more via email about this?

sure, address in my profile

It's also for security. If you've read Kevin Mitnick/Irea Winkler books like Art of Intrusion or Corporate Espionage (1997!) they say monitoring a competitor job ads is great to learn about:

1. Current trends. 2. Infrastructure

And more, I can't recall....great books too.

I mean, of course they are. I guarantee Apple is considering moving every aspect of their products in house. They'll end up keeping a lot of them external, but they look at all of it.

Indeed. It strains reason to think that a company with cash reserves the size of Apple's wasn't at least exploring the possibility of making their own radios. Hiring a few experts on a moonshot project is cheap relative to the benefits if it pays off. It's likely Google has a similar group.

Whether they produce hardware or not is an open question though. High end RF efforts tend to fail a lot. I mean, for high end LTE we're already in a situation where there are only two serious vendors.

Wouldn't an organisation such as Apple (who must be one of Qualcomm's largest customers, surely...) already share design information such as this with engineers inside Apple?

This job ad to me doesn't sound like a smoking gun to get rid of Qualcomm.

> Wouldn't an organisation such as Apple (who must be one of Qualcomm's largest customers, surely...) already share design information such as this with engineers inside Apple?

I don't see your point, and besides, Apple silos their information so that it's only available on a need-to-know basis.

In an efficient market, companies (Intel and Qcomm in this case) would compete to produce products (5G modem) that can tailor to multiple customers for maximum volume to recoup R&D cost. This will converge in the best product at the best price.

I wonder what would be the benefit of Apple producing their own chip? Especially with the threat of "peak iPhone" looming.

The problem facing Qualcomm is that their main customer for high end modems is Apple, the units they sell to the Android manufacturers are much lower volume (at the high end) and for much less money.

Apple has noticed that if they make these advanced modems themselves, the Android ecosystem doesn't have enough profit in it to make building high end modems just for that market viable. At least, it might well force Qualcomm to design down their best modems to meet lower price points at lower volumes than they can achieve now.

This is aside from the advantages Apple would have in tailoring their hardware and software to each other, and guaranteeing they get the hardware features they need to achieve their end-user facing feature goals.

And.. if they can make them even more low power, as they have the CPU/GPU and Wireless (Bluetooth/wifi). they might get an even larger advantage on battery/performance.

Apple can't build the Macbooks they want because Intel doesn't deliver the chips they need. I'm sure they want to avoid that situation with their iPhone.

Additionally, the problem with Qualcomm is that Apple thinks they are charging too much on patent licensing fees — by doing research and building up their own patent portfolio, they will have better leverage in license negotiations even if they use Qualcomm chips.

> I wonder what would be the benefit of Apple producing their own chip? Especially with the threat of "peak iPhone" looming.

Isn't that exactly the answer? If you have reached market saturation, you optimize for cost.

Ah, but the market is not efficient. Apple's priorities for very specific chips with specific interfaces and specific power requirements very likely don't always map to their vendors' own interests in selling fewer products to a wider variety of customers on timetables that match their own capital investment cycles. Apple is lucky to be a big enough buyer to have a lot of influence, but if Apple can spend a few hundred million to build a pipeline for radio chips that save them a few dollars each, and take less space, use less power, and are more tightly integrated with their OS and SOC, then it will pay off very very rapidly at their scale.

And if it doesn't work out, then the market will still be there for them.

Lots of possibilities. One simple example is maybe Apple thinks they have a 'special case' problem that other 5G modem suppliers aren't going to solve.

Also, theory is all very well but the timespans matter and aren't general. Someone has to physically be the first person to do a new thing. Apple's experience with the original iPhone was that competition caught up eventually. But in the years it took the competition to set up R&D, supply chains, yadda yadda, Apple could cement a dominant market position and turn crazy profits. They might see similar opportunities in other communications technologies (although not on the same scale).

Ensuring privacy for their users?

Apple is now a semiconductor company.

It was a matter of time, really. They already design their own and basically own all, if not the vast majority, of the production capacity of TSMC.

Sure, Apple is TSMC's #1 customer and uses the vast majority of TSMC's latest node. But TSMC is much larger than that.

The coming 5G comes to mind. The problem with Qcom and 5G is that they do not even hide the fact that they wont to monopolize the technology through IP capture.

Url changed from https://gizmodo.com/apple-posts-deletes-job-listing-that-sou..., which points to this.

With no experience rolling subscriber access silicon or MMIC this is likely to have comedic results.

Wasn't that the exact response when Apple introduced the iPhone? "They have no experience making cell phones!"

They can afford to pay to learn.

This seems like something that should have been pursued at scale (have they?) years ago when markets were in full swing of smart phone growth rather when they are starting to contract?

Oh well, we'll hear Q2 earnings in a couple of hours.

Steve Ballmer agrees wholeheartedly.


Please don't post flamebait.


My Google Pixel disagrees with you, but you do you, bro.

I'm not saying you're an Apple fanboy, I'm saying the link is.

But if your counter-point was “They laughed at the iPhone and look how successful that was” then posting Steve Ballmer's response to the iPhone (a YouTube video titled “Ballmer Laughs at iPhone”) is dumb because he of all people is hardly going to have said, ”Wow that sure is an amazing phone Apple just produced, Windows Phone sucks in comparison”

Let's look at the difference between Ballmers reaction to the iPhone and Gates reaction to iTunes.


Interesting, quite the contrast. I guess that Gates spoke so freely because this was an internal memo and off the record to the best of his knowledge–and Ballmers is putting on a brave public face. I like how Gates is honest about he knows and what he doesn't know. Funny, back in the day I really really liked eMusic, I wonder if Microsoft ever considered buying them.

EMusic wouldn't have solved the problem that Gates mentioned. Apple has negotiated rights with all of the major labels. EMusic just had independent artists.

What's even funnier that iTunes came out at a time where there were already subscription based services and they all basically failed. Years later Spotify was able to come along and be successful.

That's cool, but not for me.

I didn't buy Apple products before they went x86, and I won't buy any after, either.

Looking at the article - this is related to the Cellular modems in their telephones as opposed to the CPUs running in their Macintoshes.

Judging by Apple's success in creating powerful low energy ARM processors I'd be quite interested in seeing how they can do in designing their own 4/5G modems.

I’m keen for an understanding of how this would affect me, can you elaborate? I would assume the performance would need to be better for them to make the change + battery life.

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