By Nina Trentmann
Qualcomm Inc. finance chief Akash Palkhiwala overhauled some of the chip giant's revenue disclosures in the latest quarter, a move intended to reveal changes in the company's business strategy to investors.
The San Diego-based company, which develops mobile technologies, for the first time broke out sales generated by its handsets and automotive businesses. It also provided figures for revenues from the Internet of Things segment, referring to connected devices, and the radio frequency front-end segment, which makes device panels for certain circuits.
"It is meaningful to make a change like this when your business is evolving," Mr. Palkhiwala said. "This will allow all of our investors to track progress outside of mobile phones," he said.
Revenues by the four segments were nearly $5 billion in the quarter ended Sept. 27, with over $3 billion coming from handsets and more than $900 million coming from the Internet of Things business. Qualcomm booked total revenue of $8.34 billion during the period.
The change comes as Qualcomm's business is shifting more toward providing chips for other internet-enabled and connected devices in addition to smartphones. The creation of the new revenue metrics suggests the company is confident about the growth opportunities for these businesses, said Patrick Moorhead, principal analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy, a research and consulting firm.
"Breaking this out provides the industry with much more transparency on where growth is coming from," said Daniel Newman, principal analyst at Futurum Research, a boutique research firm. "The Street is looking for more clarity as these businesses diversify."
Other technology companies also are providing such granular insights, or are planning to do so.
Alphabet Inc. from next quarter onward will break out its cloud business as a separate reporting segment, Chief Executive Sundar Pichai said during the company's most recent earnings call. "With this segmentation, you will additionally see information about the scale of our investments, which should help you gauge the progress we are making on the multiyear path ahead to create sustainable value," Mr. Pichai said.
While more information is usually welcomed by investors, accounting experts suggest taking a closer look at the new metrics.
"We suggest investors proceed with caution when companies provide this type of information, and ask themselves if it truly provides a clearer view of the business," said David Zion, head of accounting and tax research firm Zion Research Group.
Investors also should ask whether the new breakouts are comparable with similar metrics from other companies, Mr. Zion said.
When additional metrics are introduced, companies are forced to keep providing them, even when those new businesses aren't doing so well, Mr. Moorhead said. "Breaking it out, there is a mandatory requirement for you to talk about it," he said.
Qualcomm conducts an annual evaluation of its metrics to determine whether they are still reflective of the company's business, Mr. Palkhiwala said.
"Consistency is important when you set metrics," he said.
Write to Nina Trentmann at Nina.Trentmann@wsj.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires