Qualcomm's Not a Shoe-In at Apple

Excitement over Qualcomm's possible chip win in the next iPhone may be overheated.
Author:
Publish date:

NEW YORK (

TheStreet

) --

Qualcomm

(QCOM) - Get Report

is in the running for a slot in the next

Apple

(AAPL) - Get Report

iPhone, but reports of a victory could be greatly exaggerated.

Apple appears to be lining up its field of parts suppliers for the iPhone 5 due out next year, and Qualcomm may be in the mix. A report by Taipei's

Economic Daily News

Thursday

cited by AppleInsider

suggests that Qualcomm may provide the so-called baseband or wireless communications chips for the iPhone 5 and a new version of the iPad.

The reports helped send Qualcomm shares up 2.5% to $45.44 and knocked down chip shop

Cirrus Logic

(CRUS) - Get Report

8% in Thursday morning trading.

While it's no doubt certain that Qualcomm is among the field of designated suppliers for the upcoming LTE 4G version of the iPhone, it's very likely that the primary vendor has yet to be chosen, say analysts familiar with Apple's bake-off contests.

Infineon's

(IFX)

wireless unit, which

agreed to be acquired

by

Intel

(INTC) - Get Report

a month ago, is the incumbent chip supplier to Apple's iPhone and a leading candidate for the 4G job.

Also vying for the business is

ST Ericsson

, a 4G chip-making joint-venture between

STMicro

(STM) - Get Report

and

Ericsson

(ERIC) - Get Report

.

If true to its track record, Apple will have a demanding list of feature requirements and prices to narrow the field to one primary vendor, say analysts.

The problem for Qualcomm is political.

The San Diego chip giant has been a key supplier to

Motorola

(MOT)

and

HTC

for

Google

(GOOG) - Get Report

Android devices that compete against the iPhone.

Qualcomm's Snapdragon processor is also expected to be in some of

Microsoft's

(MSFT) - Get Report

Windows Phone 7 devices coming next month, putting it squarely in the wrong camp.

The favorites in this race are Infineon and perhaps more attractively ST Ericsson, which is expected to be very eager to gain the iPhone design win and the primary supplier role, say analysts.

So while Qualcomm is certainly in the field, it's doubtful to be the outstanding winner in Apple's eye.

--Written by Scott Moritz in New York.>To contact this writer, click here: Scott Moritz, or email: scott.moritz@thestreet.com.To follow Scott on Twitter, go to http://twitter.com/TheStreet_Tech.>To send a tip, email: tips@thestreet.com.