The last 30 days for QuickLogic have been quite interesting; primarily so due to the fact that we announced our first VEE production shipments. We (OK, more accurately I did, here on this blog) also made mention of showing this at CES this year. Since then, we’ve gotten a number of questions regarding this tablet, in particular who the OEM of the tablet is. We continue to remain tight-lipped about that particular name, as we do not yet have permission from the OEM to reveal this information. Unfortunately, our tight-lipped nature on this matter has been met with a certain amount of resentment from members of the public in message boards, calls to our company, etc… Our response is that our silence on ‘who’ is not out of a desire to keep the public uninformed, but rather it is out of respect for our customers and the agreements we sign with them.
OEM’s take their privacy extremely seriously—that shouldn’t be surprising. They invest many millions of dollars in R&D per product in many cases, and the release of certain information related to that product can result in disastrous consequences.
Let’s say company X is in development on a new smartphone that uses some sort of revolutionary processor technology that cuts power consumption by 90% but increases processing power by 10X—that would be an incredible selling point for them. Should that information get out prior to launch, it could give their competitors the ability to adjust their technology and product roadmaps sooner to compensate for company X’s new smartphone.
Certainly, it would be fair to say that the example above is an extreme one, and I will grant you that. However, every bit of competitive differentiation, no matter how seemingly small or insignificant, is important to the OEM.
Further, it is typical that solution suppliers like QuickLogic don’t have a total overall picture of the product we are selling into (especially prior to launch), and don’t understand that our product/technology may be enabling a whole host of features in another section of the OEM system. Release of information, no matter how small, could play a large role in revealing a whole lot more than one could ever anticipate.
All of this considered, there is also still the fact that QuickLogic signs NDA’s with all our customers, which among other things will typically forbid us making public mention of our relationship with our customers without their express permission. We honor that in the same way that our customers honor the confidentiality of what we tell them about our company and our technologies.
The business world is littered with stories of companies who have paid the price for revealing information—QuickLogic has and will always intend to never be among that list.
UPDATED 1 February 2011 We have received permission to reveal the OEM during our upcoming earnings call, February 8. For more information on the call, see http://shop.quicklogic.com/quicklogic-announces-q4-fy-2010-earnings-conference-call/