Qualcomm CEO: We can have the best chip on the market, thanks to ex-Apple chip architects

Longtime processor suppliers Intel Corp and Advanced Micro Devices have no chips as energy efficient as Apple’s. Qualcomm Chief Executive Cristiano Amon told Reuters on Thursday he believes his company can have the best chip on the market, with help from a team of chip architects who formerly worked on Apple chip design, but who now work for Qualcomm.

M1 is the first personal computer chip built using cutting-edge 5-nanometer process technology and is packed with an astounding 16 billion transistors.
Apple’s M1 is the first personal computer chip built using cutting-edge 5-nanometer process technology

Stephen Nellis for Reuters:

As head of Qualcomm’s chip division, Amon this year led the $1.4 billion acquisition of startup Nuvia, whose ex-Apple founders help design some those Apple laptop chips before leaving to form the startup. Qualcom will start selling Nuvia-based laptop chips next year.

“We needed to have the leading performance for a battery-powered device,” Amon said. “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.”

Another major challenge for Amon will be hanging on to Apple as a customer. Qualcomm’s modem chips are now in all Apple iPhone 12 models after a bruising legal battle. Apple sued Qualcomm in 2017 but eventually dropped its claims and signed chip supply and patent license agreements with Qualcomm in 2019.

Apple is now designing chips to displace Qualcomm’s communications chips in iPhones.

MacDailyNews Take: Good luck with that, Qualcomm.

See also: Apple progresses in breach-of-contract lawsuit against Nuvia founder – January 20, 2020


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  1. How much of the M1’s advantage comes from Apple, and how much comes from TSMC’s ability to make 5 nanometer? TSMC will be making chips for Intel soon. Will it negate Apple’s advantage if Intel is using the same chip fabs?

  2. Qualcomm are hoping to release their chip in 2022 and that it will be better than Apple’s M1, The problem they will face is that M1 has been sold in retail devices since last year and maybe by next year, Apple will be using their M2 chip along with high power alternatives for professional,computers. Qualcomm need to be competitive with what Apple will be doing when their chip is on the market, but they don’t know what they are aiming for.

    1. If it is close, the non-Apple market is far larger allowing them to make a good profit. Unless Apple decides to sell the M-series chips for use in non-Apple devices, Qualcomm stands to have that market to itself.

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