Qualcomm CEO Cristiano Amon believes the company can have the best chip on the market thanks to a recent acquisition that brought chip architects that formerly worked on Apple’s processors.
In an interview with Reuters, Amon spoke about Qualcomm’s plans for laptop CPUs, which include taking on Apple’s M1 chips while competing with Intel and AMD for market share on Windows. Amon told Reuters that neither Intel nor AMD have chips as energy efficient as Apple’s, but he suggested Qualcomm could.
Amon went on to explain that if Qualcomm were to rival Apple, it would need to move away from using ARM chip blueprints from U.K.-based Arm and create its own custom-designed chips. For that, Qualcomm will rely on the recent $1.4 billion USD (roughly $1.73 billion CAD) acquisition of Nuvia, which includes former Apple chip designers.
“We needed to have the leading performance for a battery-powered device. If Arm, which we’ve had a relationship with for years, eventually develops a CPU that’s better than what we can build ourselves, then we always have the option to license from Arm,” Amon told Reuters.
Qualcomm plans to start selling Nuvia-based laptop chips next year.
For now, the company’s focus remains on laptops. Amon told Reuters that Qualcomm has no plans to build its own chips for other big CPU markets like data centres, although it does plan to licence Nuvia designs to cloud computing companies that want to make their own chips.
Amon also spoke about plans to “go big” in China and take advantage of U.S. sanctions on Huawei. Amon also doesn’t seem worried by Apple’s plans to build its own 5G chips for iPhone (Qualcomm’s 5G modems currently power the iPhone 12 line). He told Reuters that Qualcomm has decades of experience designing modem chips — Amon thinks it will be difficult for any rival to replicate that experience.