Peregrine Semiconductor Bets Big on Industry Shift in Wireless Chips

A few months ago, San Diego’s Peregrine Semiconductor (NASDAQ: PSMI) acknowledged that it was no longer the sole supplier of a specialized wireless chip that is a key component in Apple’s new iPhone 5S and 5C.

While Peregrine would continue to supply all of the “diversity RF switch” chips in the new iPhone models, Peregrine CEO Jim Cable told analysts in October that a chip used to control the main RF antenna would be “shared” with two additional chipmakers.

The significance of this change became apparent yesterday, when Peregrine said its revenue during the last three months of 2013 had plunged by a third—to $43.3 million (compared with $63 million in the fourth quarter of 2012.)

Peregrine also dimmed its outlook for 2014, saying its first-quarter revenue is expected to come in between $33 and $36 million—a range that is 21 to 29 percent lower than the first quarter of 2013, when Peregrine posted $46.6 million in sales. The downturn in business prompted a corporate restructuring that included about 20 layoffs last month, according to the California Employment Development Department. Peregrine now has about 400 employees, according to a spokeswoman for the company.

The small semiconductor maker is hardly alone, however, Cable told analysts during a conference call yesterday. “We believe we are about to see a major technology transition for the industry,” Cable said. “Peregrine is entering a new stage in its development.”

All of which helps to explain why Peregrine has issued a statement today to explain a fairly technical innovation in its proprietary technology for making specialized wireless semiconductors. With the introduction of its new Global 1 product line, Peregrine says it has … Next Page »

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Bruce V. Bigelow is the editor of Xconomy San Diego. You can e-mail him at or call (619) 669-8788 Follow @bvbigelow

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