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 was the editor of Xconomy San Diego from 2008 to 2018. Read more about his life and work here. Follow @bvbigelow

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5 responses to “Peregrine Semiconductor Bets Big on Industry Shift in Wireless Chips”

  1. PSMI says:

    Here is one of many reviews about the company:

    Pros – So many people are apathetic that you can be too
    The oppressive atmosphere of shared adversity can make for some great complaining
    Um, bagels on Fridays?
    It’s near Rough Draft Brewery?
    The company’s going to tank soon so it’ll all be over soon anyway?

    Cons – Someone decided that hiring obsessive-compulsives was a great idea, and someone else decided they didn’t care who they hired at all as long as their friends got jobs, so the result is a mix of incompetent nepotism-hires and cruel, arrogant, borderline-autistic MIT-diploma-flaunting bullies, with maybe 10% of the employees being actual humans with real feelings
    Coworkers have little to no interest in actually getting anything done, only in either avoiding all work or making themselves feel smarter than you, even though they’re not
    Managers treat anyone ranked below them as if they’re children or particularly stupid robots; managers themselves
    Upper managers have no ability to not micromanage, and can’t see what’s going to happen more than a step ahead
    Change is slow, if it ever happens, and is incompetently implemented when it finally arrives

    Advice to Senior Management – First suggestion? Fire yourselves. All of you. If you won’t do that, try remembering what it’s like to be human, remember that everyone else is also human, and then try thinking more than three months into the future

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I’m not optimistic about the outlook for this company

  2. SequoiaComm says:

    Good one PSMI, I read this one as well….

    “Toxic environment failing due to failures in upper management (good old boys club) and complacency”

    I have been working at Peregrine Semiconductor full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros – The pro’s are diminishing very quickly at Peregrine, therefore I am reluctant to give a pro as it may be non-existent in a month.
    The best thing I can say is the manufacturing and operations organizations in this company really have it together. If the rest of the company were managed as well it would be a phenomenal company to work for.

    Cons – Executive Management:

    Upper management is absolutely blind to what is going on in this company, and there is complete lack of accountability at the VP and above level. My opinion is this is due to the fact that the executive staff were all engineers/friends prior to being promoted into their executive positions. This has created a “good old boys club” at the top where accountability is amiss and they back each other up out of self preservation. Imagine a closed of circle of people living an alternate reality. This is the root and foundation of what has made this a toxic company. Upper management completely and absolutely deaf by choice to the realities of the company that is running below them.

    HR and Benefits:

    With the hiring of a HR Vice president in the second quarter of last year this company has experienced layoff/mass firings every quarter there, looking at another 15% layoff this quarter. About the only incentive this company had was the ability to sell back your vacation, but HR has eliminated this program. No ESPP, no bonus’s, no vacation buy back…no benefits beyond the bare bone benefits you would find at any company. While we are talking about layoff and vacation…how about all that vacation you’ve been saving up over the past year to take a trip you’ve been looking forward too….as the mob likes to say….for get about it…you can plan on your vacation days being consumed quarterly by mandatory vacation days…they have to do this so they can try to make their numbers. If you have stock options and want to sell them good luck. If you want to sell stock options you have one month per quarter that you are allowed to sell otherwise your account is locked from trading by the company, so if the stock is sinking and you want to sell to minimize you loss…forget it…they’ve tied you to the anchor and you’re going to Davey Jone’s Locker…kiss your money good bye..

    Middle management

    Overall, a ship with out a rudder and no sails. Lack of effective direction from executive staff and worse yet the executive staff does not give the middle management the authority to function as managers. The staff themselves are a mixed bag. There are a few good managers, but most of the managers chosen by the executive staff are spineless with no self drive and motivation so as to prevent disagreement between middle management and executive management. You would be quite alarmed to learn of the background of some of the managers lack of experience and background in the areas they are managing…absolutely baffling.

    So there you go…that is Peregrine Semiconductor in a nutshell.

    Advice to Senior Management – Replace all of the executive staff VP and above with a team that has real experience leading a company. There are too many games going on with the employees and customer’s which are causing this company to fail on all fronts.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I’m not optimistic about the outlook for this company

  3. EDD says:

    This has been a false report from Peregrine. “The downturn in business prompted a corporate restructuring that included about 20 layoffs last month,according to the California Employment Development Department.” They have laid-off about 15 people in August, 20 in December and 50 in January. And they kept their buddies in the company. Are board members sleeping and not seeing this mess?

  4. rffem says:

    Qualcomm will take all the rf front end business away from psemi in two years.