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Restoring Performance Leadership to the Windows Ecosystem – Six Five On The Road at Computex 2024

Restoring Performance Leadership to the Windows Ecosystem

On this episode of the Six Five On The Road at Computex Taipei, hosts Daniel Newman and Ryan Shrout are joined by Qualcomm’s Kedar Kondap, SVP and GM, Compute and Gaming, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. for a conversation on Qualcomm’s strategic movements in the PC space, aiming to redefine performance leadership within the Windows ecosystem.

Their discussion covers:

  • The strategic reasons behind Qualcomm’s increased focus on the PC segment and their leadership ambitions.
  • The journey and impact of Windows on Snapdragon from its inception to the present day.
  • Qualcomm’s growth aspirations for Snapdragon in the PC market, in terms of market penetration, revenue, and expanding into new sectors.
  • The experiences and strategies Qualcomm employs working alongside and differentiating within a market historically dominated by two key players.
  • Expected shifts in the software ecosystem, particularly how they may fuel the acceleration of AI in PCs.
  • Qualcomm’s unique approach to carving out space in the PC segment for both consumer and commercial markets, now through 2025.

Learn more at Qualcomm.

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Transcript:

Daniel Newman: Hey, everyone. The Six Five is back. We are on the road here at Ccomputex 2024 in Taipei. We are doing a series of conversations with Qualcomm, an exclusive series, as this has been a big week for Qualcomm around the launch of Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon X Elite, as well as the Copilot+ PC. And this particular conversation hits that topic on the nail with someone that’s been on our show many times before. We’ve got Kedar Kondap. Kedar is the SVP and GM of Compute and Gaming at Qualcomm, and he’s been a regular, Ryan. We’ve had him a number of times on The Six Five, although you and I together, this may be the first time that we have the chance.

Ryan Shrout: This is new.

Daniel Newman: Kedar, welcome to the show. Welcome to Taipei. What a week. How are you doing, my friend?

Kedar Kondap: Doing good, thanks, Dan. Thanks, Ryan. Thanks for having me on. Exciting times ahead for us.

Ryan Shrout: Yeah, and you mentioned it as a big week. I would say it’s been a big month, maybe the whole year really for you guys, ever since the release of the X Elite branding, kind of back at the Snapdragon Summit.

Daniel Newman: Congratulations.

Ryan Shrout: Very cool. One thing I’ve been curious about is X Elite’s a good product, it’s a great product. It’s been getting a ton of attention. There were previous iterations of Windows on Snapdragon. I’m just kind of curious, what were the learnings? And how did that impact and influence what we ended up with today?

Kedar Kondap: As you said earlier, this is a big pivotal moment for us. I think what’s happened over the last several years, I’d say, were preparing us for this moment. You saw the announcements from Microsoft. It all was honestly a testament to the kind of platform that we have, the kind of work we’ve done in partnership with them. I’d say a lot of the key learnings that we’ve been able to do over the years is we have an incredible platform that we’ve not had before. More specifically, the X Elite is best in class, in terms of its performance in multiple ways. And you look at performance for work leadership. You look at the custom Qualcomm Oryon CPU. You look at the graphics performance that is incredibly good.

And more so, obviously, what we celebrated a lot was the NPU. And obviously, it’s a bed that we’ve taken for many years. It wasn’t just that we decided on adding an NPU in this platform. We’ve been doing this for generations. It’s almost like seven years now since we’ve had an NPU. So we’ve been preparing for this moment for many years.

Daniel Newman: Yeah, and it’s been a big moment. And of course, part of the Qualcomm story has been very diversification-centric, whether it’s been moving into IoT, you guys won that RF front-end market. It became really, really important and pivotal in the growth of the company. Automotive, there’s been a number of great narratives out there. And the overall narrative was that Qualcomm set out to diversify and, in many ways, has executed. The market has given a pretty good sign that it’s appreciating that with recent moves and, of course, now wanting to be in on the AI trend and be in this PC trend as well, Kedar.

But the PC market’s tough. It wasn’t a guarantee. There was a number of reasons to think it may be hard to break in. With Microsoft giving you the big vote of confidence, of course, at Build that the OEMs picking and choosing many designs, your aspirations must be growing. Can you talk a little bit about how that’s evolving? And what does Qualcomm see as its road to growth and market? Is the sky the limit?

Kedar Kondap: Yeah, great question, Dan. I think, for us, when, as you said rightfully, when we enter a new market or when we try to go into adjacent businesses and stuff, we realize that this is a long investment. This is not a short-term thing. We do realize that the investments we make sometimes bear fruit over many, many years. And so, as you can see with the X Elite and the +, our growth is obviously our expansion plans are to grow the market as much as we can. We want to be able to offer the best Copilot+ next generation AI PCs to as many consumers as we can. So the reason why we launched both the X Elite and the + concurrently or close enough is due to the fact that we want all these consumers to be able to get access to these new use cases that we’re talking about.

More specifically, I think you saw some of the use cases that Microsoft talked about, specifically those total recall and a bunch of stuff. We’ve also shown some pretty incredible ISV partnerships that have shown some really cool apps. And once you start to see how the NPU shines in its glory with running stuff on a dedicated hardware engine and the impact that it has on battery life and stuff, it’s awesome. So our intent, as you look at aspirations and stuff, is to make sure that we can get to as many of the PC users and get to as many people with giving them a super compelling Windows platform to play with.

Ryan Shrout: I think those aspirations are excellent. One of the things that I’m curious about also is this is a very different market than Qualcomm’s used to playing in, right? The smartphones is what Qualcomm was known for in the past. You’re now trying to get into a market and segment that works very differently. There’s channel, there’s retail, entrenched to competitors in this space. What’s it been like trying to push your way in and showcase the product and get the credit that you think the X Elite deserves?

Kedar Kondap: Ryan, in some ways, you said this is different, but in many ways, this is actually the same. When we were in the phone space, we came from the mobile legacy. And for us, as we think of even little things, architecture, how we’re designing our cores, how we’re designing the entire platform, the choice that we make with respect to components, they’re always biased towards making sure we’re focused on power as a number one goal. So using that, obviously, as you know, mobile and phones and PCs are mobile platforms. Everybody wants to carry them around. Any and every market that you do will show you that the number one feedback from everybody is that battery life is the most important thing that matters. So in many ways, it’s actually just very easy for us to be able to migrate from a mobile-based ecosystem to now a computer or PC-based ecosystem.

So the way I think about it is we’ve been able to innovate in phones, right from whether it is, if you look at cameras and phones, we’ve evolved over time. Now, you have phone cameras that are 200 megapixels. For what it’s worth, they’ve replaced DSLRs for the most part. You even think about GPS for that matter, right? Remember a few years ago, where you’d be in a dense downtown area and you won’t have a GPS signal on your phone? And we’ve been able to innovate obviously with triangulating multiple satellites and stuff. So for us, a lot of that goodness, the reason why we keep saying this is PC reborn is really it is something that’s incredible. And at Qualcomm, we believe in innovation. So we’re obviously a very technology-biased company.

We want to drive the industry towards innovation and give as many consumers a good reason to be able to adopt this new PC. I’ll add one more thing. I think Dan’s anxious to say something, but I think, as you were saying something, but to your question about just the market being different, I think the channel is different. There’s no doubt about it. It’s a very phones being carrier-centric versus PCs being retailer in the consumer space and then, commercial and enterprise and almost pretty equal when you think about it. Actually, I don’t know if you saw Best Buy’s quote earlier with their CEO, Corie, was incredible. She was endorsing stuff, and we’re partnering with them to launch PCs on June 18, they’ve assorted. You almost see, I think, almost every key retailer launching these devices. I think we made their life pretty easy by having a really compelling platform for them to be able to assort. So it helps a lot.

Daniel Newman: Yeah, you’re definitely driving a paradigm shift is what I would say. And like I said, of course, you’re expecting meaningful competition to come. They’re not going to lay down and just let you take market. But at the same time, that low power, that kind of mobile device-like experience on your PC has been the paradigm shift, where, like I said, when we first designed phones, it was like, how do we make them more like the PC? And now, we’re going 180 degrees the other way? And that’s a software-driven thing. That’s the software that is going to drive that. Software is going to drive AI. How do you see the software and the development driving this forward in terms of creating more demand for what you’re building?

Kedar Kondap: Great question. So a couple of ways to think about what we’re doing with software. One, obviously, it would be amiss if I don’t give a shout out to the work Microsoft has done, in terms of all of the goodness, right, from whether it is partnering with them on the Copilot+ experiences. The fact is they’ve also announced Prism, incredible job by Microsoft getting the emulator performance up to a level where it’s really, really good. When I think about apps, I think of it in three steps. One, I think the apps, a normal consumer really doesn’t understand emulation for what it’s worth. So we want the app to just run. And the fact that now there is such an incredible emulator called Prism for Microsoft, the apps will run in an emulated manner with some really good performance. Second, we want the app to run native on the platform.

And I think you’ve heard now so many of these app vendors talk about it. Now, you’ve heard from Google that has ported Chrome Native, you’ve heard from Adobe, they’ve ported a whole bunch, and they’ve committed to porting many others. You’ve seen DaVinci and Blackmagic and all of these. So there’s been a huge number of apps that are already being ported native. And that the third step towards this is the apps need to celebrate the silicon. We have a heterogeneous architecture that is super compelling. We’ve got dedicated fixed function blocks, right from whether it is a CPU, a GPU, an NPU, a dedicated camera, video core, audio core. We’ve got even small little NPUs sitting inside our audio block that runs in low power.

So when you think about what happens with software, these apps celebrate everything with the silicon. And to give more access to developers, Microsoft and us talked about, Microsoft announced this on stage at Build, which is we have the Snapdragon Windows dev box, so we’re going to make sure the hardware is available to as many developers as possible. And we also announced the AI Hub. So our intent is multiple fold. You have the apps, you have the ecosystem, and we’re making sure there’s enough hardware available for them, and the tools, such as AI Hub, that they can take any of these models that are evolving fast port it onto our device. So overall, I think software is going to be key, and we’re going to do everything possible to accelerate that on Snapdragon.

Ryan Shrout: I talked earlier about how different the PC market can be. I want to ask you more of a forward looking question, I guess. You’ve done a great job kind of differentiating how X Elite comes into the market, what its performance characteristics are, how it segments itself in the market. How do you maintain that over future generations, right? Because you know the competition’s going to come in, they’re going to have responses, but what’s your view on how you extend that?

Kedar Kondap: Yeah. Look, like I said earlier, we’re a technology company. We’re going to continue to innovate. I wish I could tell you what’s coming out in the future, but all I’ll tell you, it’s pretty exciting. I’m very excited about what’s coming. Let’s just say you should keep an eye out. There are some things, some fun things, you should expect from us soon and a longer term horizon, obviously, we have some incredible stuff coming down the pipe.

Daniel Newman: Yeah, and I know you can only say so much, but look, the wins are going to tell the story. The sell-in has been very good, and we’ve seen it with the designs and what we’ve heard from the partners, Lenovo and Dell and HP and others have come out, Samsung, with what they plan to do. The sellout is going to be seeing people going down the street, walking into a Starbucks cafe, and seeing those Snapdragon devices with their coffee, right next to their coffee. That’s going to be the win. That’s what, of course, we, as analysts, are looking out for.

But what I can say, Kedar, is you’ve made a lot of progress even from six and 12 months ago. You’ve compelled me as an analyst that you guys can do this in a way that wasn’t certain during different parts of this journey. So I want to congratulate you on that. I want to thank you, wish you a great COMPUTEX 2024. Good luck with the rest of the announcements. And you can be sure we’ll be having you back soon.

Kedar Kondap: Thank you. Thanks for having me on the show. I appreciate it.

Daniel Newman: Thanks everyone for tuning into this exclusive coverage of Computex and Snapdragon X Elite. We had Kedar Kondap, SVP, GM of Compute and Gaming here. But for you, you got to tune in, subscribe, join us, be part of our community. We appreciate you. But for now, for Ryan Shrout, for myself, I got to go. We’ll see you all later.

Author Information

Daniel is the CEO of The Futurum Group. Living his life at the intersection of people and technology, Daniel works with the world’s largest technology brands exploring Digital Transformation and how it is influencing the enterprise.

From the leading edge of AI to global technology policy, Daniel makes the connections between business, people and tech that are required for companies to benefit most from their technology investments. Daniel is a top 5 globally ranked industry analyst and his ideas are regularly cited or shared in television appearances by CNBC, Bloomberg, Wall Street Journal and hundreds of other sites around the world.

A 7x Best-Selling Author including his most recent book “Human/Machine.” Daniel is also a Forbes and MarketWatch (Dow Jones) contributor.

An MBA and Former Graduate Adjunct Faculty, Daniel is an Austin Texas transplant after 40 years in Chicago. His speaking takes him around the world each year as he shares his vision of the role technology will play in our future.

As President, Signal65 Ryan ensures the company provides valuable insight on competitive analysis, performance marketing, product positioning, and real-world experience comparisons.

With a focus on in-depth testing and nearly two decades of hands-on experience, Ryan has created a breadth of knowledge in nearly all fields of hardware including CPUs, GPUs, AI/NPUs, SoC design, memory systems, storage, graphics, displays and their integration into client and data center solutions and platforms.

He spent five years at Intel serving in roles from competitive analysis, to owning client technical marketing, and driving product delivery in the client graphics and AI division. Prior to Intel, Ryan spent 18 years analyzing hardware and technology as the owner of PC Perspective and three years as the Principal Analyst at Shrout Research.

Ryan has worked with major technology companies and their product management teams at Intel, Qualcomm, AMD, NVIDIA, Arm, MediaTek, Dell, Lenovo, Samsung, ASUS, Meta, Microsoft, and Adobe. His work has been cited and quoted by numerous technology news outlets and is a regular contributor to MarketWatch.

Ryan holds a Bachelors of Science in Computer Science from the University of Kentucky.

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