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Can TriQuint Ever Be More Than an Apple Derivative?

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- There is no question that technology giants such as Apple (AAPL - Get Report) and Google (GOOG) have a considerable amount of advantage over their peers when it comes to the growing popularity of smartphones and mobile devices. The technological shift encouraged by these devices, which combine various social networking, gaming, scheduling and other business functions, have quickly moved from "wants" to "must-haves." The reason for this new fascination has to do with the fact that consumers have adopted lifestyles that are constantly on-the-go with no signs of slowing down.

One company that benefited from this trend is the once-unknown TriQuint Semiconductor (TQNT), as it would appear that (until of late) its stock had also become somewhat of a "must-have." The company has been a staple in various iterations of both the iPhone and the iPad, and Apple accounts for 35% of its annual $900 million revenue. But will it ever be seen as more than just a derivative play on Apple? This is the question investors are beginning to ask, because after the stock had gained as much as 50% on the year to reach a high of $7.26, it has since lost 30% of its gains as of its recent close of $5.04. But what, exactly, has changed to cause this alteration in sentiment? Investors don't need to look any further than the company's own recent earnings report.

The TriQuint trifecta

The company disappointed Wall Street in three key areas. For the period ending March 31, TriQuint reported 2 cents earnings per share on revenues of $216.7 million. Though it beat analysts' estimates of $214.6, it represented a revenue decrease of 3.4% from the same period a year earlier. Its EPS number also met Wall Street expectations, but on a GAAP basis, it was 86% lower from a year earlier. The third disappointing trend was that it reported gross margins of 29.4%, representing an annual decrease of 960 basis points. Operating and net margins also trended lower.

As disappointing as these numbers were, the company also failed to inspire confidence with a better outlook. Management seems overly cautious with its revenue targets for the next couple of quarters by issuing guidance that was considerably lower than what it has issued in the past for the same periods -- by at least 20%. It seems there are concerns regarding its level of production with the new iteration of the iPhone due out this fall. More than anything else, I think that is what really disrupted its narrative and answered that all important question: Will it ever be more than a derivative play on Apple? It's hard to say no at this point.
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