HTC Evo 4G

Taiwan's HTC negatively pre-announced the fourth-quarter revenue on Wednesday, citing the economic downturn and market competition.

HTC now expects fourth-quarter revenue to be approximately flat from last year, implying roughly 103 billion Taiwanese dollar compared to earlier guidance of 125 billion to 135 billion Taiwanese dollar.

The company lowered revenue guidance by about 25 percent, implying unit shipments of roughly 10 million in the fourth quarter versus guidance of 12 to 13 million and third-quarter shipments of 13.2 million units.

We think the miss highlights HTC's relatively weak product portfolio compared to others, particularly in the U.S., but could also be indicative of heightened competition following the iPhone 4S launch, Suquehanna Financial analyst Chris Caso wrote in a note to clients.

The analyst expects that the miss represents an approximate $50 million shortfall for Qualcomm, Inc. (NASDAQ:QCOM) in the fourth quarter 4Q, or an EPS impact of 1 cent.

The question will be: Is the HTC miss indicative of a broader slowdown in the handset space? The analyst tends to think it is more about market share loss than a broader slowdown.

In our view, it appears that HTC is losing share, particularly in the U.S. (HTC's most important market) with intensifying competition from Samsung (with the Galaxy S2) and AAPL (from iPhone 4S, and lower prices for iPhone 4). If HTC's troubles are truly company specific, then we think the impact to QCOM remains negligible, Caso wrote.