Significant Accounting Policies
|12 Months Ended
Sep. 30, 2018
|Accounting Policies [Abstract]
|Significant Accounting Policies
Note 1. Significant Accounting Policies
We develop, design, manufacture, have manufactured on our behalf and market digital communications products, which principally consist of integrated circuits and system software based on CDMA, OFDMA and other technologies for use in mobile devices, wireless networks, devices used in the Internet of Things (IoT), broadband gateway equipment, consumer electronic devices and automotive telematics and infotainment systems. We also grant licenses to use portions of our intellectual property portfolio, which includes certain patent rights essential to and/or useful in the manufacture and sale of certain wireless products and receive ongoing royalties based on sales by licensees of wireless products incorporating our patented technologies and may also receive fixed license fees (payable in one or more installments).
Principles of Consolidation. Our consolidated financial statements include the assets, liabilities and operating results of majority-owned subsidiaries, including our joint venture RF360 Holdings Singapore Pte. Ltd (RF360 Holdings) (Note 9). During the third quarter of fiscal 2018, we eliminated the one-month reporting lag previously used to consolidate our RF360 Holdings joint venture to provide contemporaneous reporting within our consolidated financial statements. The effect of this change was not material to the consolidated financial statements, and therefore, the impact of eliminating the one-month reporting lag has been included in our results of operations for fiscal 2018.
In addition, we consolidated our investment in an immaterial less than majority-owned variable interest entity as we were the primary beneficiary until the end of fiscal 2017. The ownership of the other interest holders of consolidated subsidiaries and the immaterial less than majority-owned variable interest entity is presented separately in the consolidated balance sheets and statements of operations. All significant intercompany accounts and transactions have been eliminated.
Financial Statement Preparation. The preparation of financial statements in conformity with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America (GAAP) requires management to make estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts and the disclosure of contingent amounts in our consolidated financial statements and the accompanying notes. Examples of our significant accounting estimates that may involve a higher degree of judgment and complexity than others include: the determination of other-than-temporary impairments of other investments; the valuation of inventories; the valuation and assessment of the recoverability of goodwill and other indefinite-lived and long-lived assets; the recognition, measurement and disclosure of loss contingencies related to legal and regulatory proceedings; and the calculation of tax liabilities, including the recognition and measurement of uncertain tax positions. Actual results could differ from those estimates. Certain prior year amounts have been reclassified to conform to the current year presentation.
Fiscal Year. We operate and report using a 52-53 week fiscal year ending on the last Sunday in September. The fiscal year ended September 30, 2018, included 53 weeks. The fiscal years ended September 24, 2017 and September 25, 2016 included 52 weeks.
Cash Equivalents. We consider all highly liquid investments with original maturities of 90 days or less to be cash equivalents. Cash equivalents are comprised of money market funds, certificates of deposit, commercial paper, corporate bonds and notes, certain bank time and demand deposits and government agencies’ securities. The carrying amounts approximate fair value due to the short maturities of these instruments.
Marketable Securities. Marketable securities include available-for-sale securities and certain time deposits for which classification is determined at the time of purchase and reevaluated at each balance sheet date. We classify marketable securities as current or noncurrent based on the nature of the securities and their availability for use in current operations. Marketable securities are stated at fair value. The net unrealized gains or losses on available-for-sale securities are recorded as a component of accumulated other comprehensive income, net of income taxes. The realized gains and losses on marketable securities are determined using the specific identification method.
At each balance sheet date, we assess available-for-sale securities in an unrealized loss position to determine whether the unrealized loss is other than temporary. We consider factors including: the significance of the decline in value as compared to the cost basis; underlying factors contributing to a decline in the prices of securities in a single asset class; how long the market value of the security has been less than its cost basis; the security’s relative performance versus its peers, sector or asset class; expected market volatility; the market and economy in general; analyst recommendations and price targets; views of external investment managers; news or financial information that has been released specific to the investee; and the outlook for the overall industry in which the investee operates.
If a debt security’s market value is below amortized cost and we either intend to sell the security or it is more likely than not that we will be required to sell the security before its anticipated recovery, we record an other-than-temporary impairment charge to investment and other income, net for the entire amount of the impairment. For the remaining debt securities, if an other-than-temporary impairment exists, we separate the other-than-temporary impairment into the portion of the loss related to credit factors, or the credit loss portion, which is recorded as a charge to investment and other income, net, and the portion of the loss that is not related to credit factors, or the noncredit loss portion, which is recorded as a component of other accumulated comprehensive income, net of income taxes.
For equity securities, we consider the loss relative to the expected volatility and the likelihood of recovery over a reasonable period of time. If events and circumstances indicate that a decline in the value of an equity security has occurred and is other than temporary, we record a charge to investment and other income, net for the difference between fair value and cost at the balance sheet date. Additionally, if we either have the intent to sell the equity security or do not have both the intent and the ability to hold the equity security until its anticipated recovery, we record a charge to investment and other income, net for the difference between fair value and cost at the balance sheet date.
Equity and Cost Method Investments. We generally account for non-marketable equity investments either under the equity or the cost method. Equity investments for which we have significant influence, but not control over the investee and are not the primary beneficiary of the investee’s activities are accounted for under the equity method. Other non-marketable equity investments are accounted for under the cost method. Our share of gains and losses in equity method investments are recorded in investment and other income, net. We monitor non-marketable equity investments for events or circumstances that could indicate the investments are impaired, such as a deterioration in the investee’s financial condition and business forecasts and lower valuations in recently completed or proposed financings, and record a charge to investment and other income, net for the difference between the estimated fair value and the carrying value.
The carrying values of our non-marketable equity investments are recorded in other noncurrent assets and were as follows (in millions):
Transactions with equity method investees are considered related party transactions. Revenues from certain licensing and services contracts were $100 million with one of our equity method investees in fiscal 2018, and $165 million and $196 million with two of our equity method investees in fiscal 2017 and 2016, respectively. We eliminate unrealized profit or loss related to such transactions in relation to our ownership interest in the investee, which is recorded as a component of equity in net losses in investees in investment and other income, net. No accounts receivable were due from these equity method investees at September 30, 2018. Aggregate accounts receivable from these equity method investees were $29 million at September 24, 2017.
Derivatives. Our primary objectives for holding derivative instruments are to manage interest rate risk on our long-term debt and to manage foreign exchange risk for certain foreign currency revenues, operating expenses, receivables and payables. Derivative instruments are recorded at fair value and included in other current or noncurrent assets or other current or noncurrent liabilities based on their maturity dates. Counterparties to our derivative instruments are all major banking institutions.
Interest Rate Swaps: We manage our exposure to certain interest rate risks related to our long-term debt through the use of interest rate swaps. Such swaps allow us to effectively convert fixed-rate payments into floating-rate payments based on LIBOR. These transactions are designated as fair value hedges, and the gains and losses related to changes in the fair value of the interest rate swaps substantially offset changes in the fair value of the hedged portion of the underlying debt that are attributable to changes in the market interest rates. The net gains and losses on the interest rate swaps, as well as the offsetting gains or losses on the related fixed-rate debt attributable to the hedged risks, are recognized in earnings as interest expense in the current period. The interest settlement payments associated with the interest rate swap agreements are classified as cash flows from operating activities in the consolidated statements of cash flows.
At September 30, 2018 and September 24, 2017, the aggregate fair value of our interest rate swaps related to our long-term debt issued in May 2015 was $50 million and negligible, respectively. The fair values of the swaps were recorded in other noncurrent liabilities at September 30, 2018 and in noncurrent assets, other current liabilities and other noncurrent liabilities at September 24, 2017. At September 30, 2018, the swaps had an aggregate notional amount of $1.8 billion, which effectively converted approximately 43% and 50% of the fixed-rate debt due in 2020 and 2022, respectively, into floating-rate debt, with maturities matching our fixed-rate debt due in 2020 and 2022. At September 24, 2017, the swaps had an aggregate notional amount of $3.0 billion, which effectively converted all of the fixed-rate debt due in 2018 and approximately 43% and 50% of the fixed-rate debt due in 2020 and 2022, respectively, into floating-rate debt, with maturities matching our fixed-rate debt due in 2018, 2020 and 2022.
Foreign Currency Hedges: We manage our exposure to foreign exchange market risks, when deemed appropriate, through the use of derivative instruments, including foreign currency forward and option contracts with financial counterparties, that may or may not be designated as hedging instruments. These derivative instruments have maturity dates of less than twelve months. Gains and losses arising from the effective portion of such contracts that are designated as cash flow hedging instruments are recorded as a component of accumulated other comprehensive income as gains and losses on derivative instruments, net of income taxes. The hedging gains and losses in accumulated other comprehensive income are subsequently reclassified to revenues or costs and expenses, as applicable, in the consolidated statements of operations in the same period in which the underlying transactions affect our earnings. Gains and losses arising from the ineffective portion of such contracts, if any, are recorded in investment and other income, net as gains and losses on derivative instruments. The cash flows associated with derivative instruments designated as cash flow hedging instruments are classified as cash flows from operating activities in the consolidated statements of cash flows, which is the same category as the hedged transaction. The cash flows associated with the ineffective portion of such derivative instruments, if any, are classified as cash flows from investing activities in the consolidated statements of cash flows. The fair values of our foreign currency forward and option contracts used to hedge foreign currency risk designated as cash flow hedges recorded in total assets and in total liabilities were negligible and $19 million, respectively, at September 30, 2018 and $10 million and $22 million, respectively at September 24, 2017.
For foreign currency forward and option contracts not designated as hedging instruments, the changes in fair value are recorded in investment and other income, net in the period of change. The cash flows associated with derivative instruments not designated as hedging instruments are classified as cash flows from operating activities in the consolidated statements of cash flows, which is the same category as the hedged transaction. The fair values of our foreign currency forward and option contracts not designated as hedging instruments were negligible at September 30, 2018 and September 24, 2017, respectively.
Gross Notional Amounts: The gross notional amounts of our interest rate and foreign currency derivatives by instrument type were as follows (in millions):
The gross notional amounts by currency were as follows (in millions):
Fair Value Measurements. Fair value is defined as the exchange price that would be received for an asset or paid to transfer a liability (an exit price) in the principal or most advantageous market for the asset or liability in an orderly transaction between market participants as of the measurement date. Applicable accounting guidance provides an established hierarchy for inputs used in measuring fair value that maximizes the use of observable inputs and minimizes the use of unobservable inputs by requiring that the most observable inputs be used when available. Observable inputs are inputs that market participants would use in valuing the asset or liability and are developed based on market data obtained from sources independent of us. Unobservable inputs are inputs that reflect our assumptions about the factors that market participants would use in valuing the asset or liability. There are three levels of inputs that may be used to measure fair value:
Assets and liabilities are classified based on the lowest level of input that is significant to the fair value measurement. We review the fair value hierarchy classification on a quarterly basis. Changes in the observability of valuation inputs may result in a reclassification of levels for certain securities within the fair value hierarchy.
Cash Equivalents and Marketable Securities: With the exception of auction rate securities, we obtain pricing information from quoted market prices, pricing vendors or quotes from brokers/dealers. We conduct reviews of our primary pricing vendors to determine whether the inputs used in the vendor’s pricing processes are deemed to be observable. The fair value for interest-bearing securities includes accrued interest.
The fair value of U.S. Treasury securities and government-related securities, corporate bonds and notes and common and preferred stock is generally determined using standard observable inputs, including reported trades, quoted market prices, matrix pricing, benchmark yields, broker/dealer quotes, issuer spreads, two-sided markets and/or benchmark securities.
The fair value of debt and equity funds is reported at published net asset values. We assess the daily frequency and size of transactions at published net asset values and/or the funds’ underlying holdings to determine whether fair value is based on observable or unobservable inputs.
The fair value of auction rate securities is estimated using a discounted cash flow model that incorporates transaction details, such as contractual terms, maturity and timing and amount of future cash flows, as well as assumptions related to liquidity, default likelihood and recovery, the future state of the auction rate market and credit valuation adjustments of market participants. Though most of the securities we hold are pools of student loans guaranteed by the United States government, prepayment speeds and illiquidity discounts are considered significant unobservable inputs. These additional inputs are generally unobservable, and therefore, auction rate securities are included in Level 3.
Derivative Instruments: Derivative instruments that are traded on an exchange are valued using quoted market prices and are included in Level 1. Derivative instruments that are not traded on an exchange are valued using conventional calculations/models that are primarily based on observable inputs, such as foreign currency exchange rates, volatilities and interest rates, and therefore, such derivative instruments are included in Level 2.
Other Investments and Other Liabilities: Other investments and other liabilities included in Level 1 are comprised of our deferred compensation plan liability and related assets, which consist of mutual funds classified as trading securities, and are included in other assets. Other investments and other liabilities included in Level 3 are comprised of convertible debt instruments issued by private companies and contingent consideration related to business combinations, respectively. The fair value of convertible debt instruments is estimated based on the estimated timing and amount of future cash flows, as well as assumptions related to liquidity, default likelihood and recovery. The fair value of contingent consideration related to business combinations is estimated using either a real options approach or discounted cash flow model, both of which include inputs, such as projected financial information, market volatility, discount rates and timing of contractual payments. The inputs we use to estimate the fair values of the convertible debt instruments and contingent consideration are generally unobservable, and therefore, they are included in Level 3.
Allowances for Doubtful Accounts. We maintain allowances for doubtful accounts for estimated losses resulting from the inability of our customers to make required payments. We consider the following factors when determining if collection of required payments is reasonably assured: customer credit-worthiness; past transaction history with the customer; current economic industry and/or geographic trends; changes in customer payment terms; and bank credit-worthiness for letters of credit. If we have no previous experience with the customer, we may request financial information, including financial statements or other documents, to determine that the customer has the means of making payment. We may also obtain reports from various credit organizations to determine that the customer has a history of paying its creditors. If these factors do not indicate collection is reasonably assured, revenue is deferred as a reduction to accounts receivable until collection becomes reasonably assured, which is generally upon receipt of cash. If the financial condition of our customers was to deteriorate, adversely affecting their ability to make payments, additional allowances would be required.
Inventories. Inventories are valued at the lower of cost and net realizable value using the first-in, first-out method. Recoverability of inventories is assessed based on review of future customer demand that considers multiple factors, including committed purchase orders from customers as well as purchase commitment projections provided by customers and our own forecast of customer demand, among other things.
Property, Plant and Equipment. Property, plant and equipment are recorded at cost and depreciated or amortized using the straight-line method over their estimated useful lives. Upon the retirement or disposition of property, plant and equipment, the related cost and accumulated depreciation or amortization are removed, and a gain or loss is recorded, when appropriate. Buildings on owned land are depreciated over 30 years, and building improvements are depreciated over their useful lives ranging from 7 to 15 years. Leasehold improvements are amortized over the shorter of their estimated useful lives, not to exceed 15 years, or the remaining term of the related lease. Other property, plant and equipment have useful lives ranging from 2 to 25 years. Leased property meeting certain capital lease criteria is capitalized, and the net present value of the related lease payments is recorded as a liability. Amortization of assets under capital leases is recorded using the straight-line method over the shorter of the estimated useful lives or the lease terms. Maintenance, repairs and minor renewals or betterments are charged to expense as incurred.
Goodwill and Other Intangible Assets. Goodwill represents the excess of purchase price over the value assigned to the net tangible and identifiable intangible assets of businesses acquired. Acquired intangible assets other than goodwill are amortized over their useful lives unless the lives are determined to be indefinite. For intangible assets purchased in a business combination, the estimated fair values of the assets received are used to establish their recorded values. For intangible assets acquired in a non-monetary exchange, the estimated fair values of the assets transferred (or the estimated fair values of the assets received, if more clearly evident) are used to establish their recorded values, unless the values of neither the assets received nor the assets transferred are determinable within reasonable limits, in which case the assets received are measured based on the carrying values of the assets transferred. Valuation techniques consistent with the market approach, income approach and/or cost approach are used to measure fair value.
Impairment of Goodwill, Other Indefinite-Lived Assets and Long-Lived Assets. Goodwill and other indefinite-lived intangible assets are tested annually for impairment in the fourth fiscal quarter and in interim periods if events or changes in circumstances indicate that the assets may be impaired. If a qualitative assessment is used and we determine that the fair value of a reporting unit or indefinite-lived intangible asset is more likely than not (i.e., a likelihood of more than 50%) less than its carrying amount, a quantitative impairment test will be performed. Pursuant to the new guidance adopted in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2018, if goodwill is quantitatively assessed for impairment and a reporting unit’s carrying value exceeds its fair value, the difference is recorded as an impairment. Other indefinite-lived intangible assets are quantitatively assessed for impairment, if necessary, by comparing their estimated fair values to their carrying values. If the carrying value exceeds the fair value, the difference is recorded as an impairment.
Long-lived assets, such as property, plant and equipment and intangible assets subject to amortization, are reviewed for impairment when there is evidence that events or changes in circumstances indicate that the carrying amount of an asset or asset group may not be recoverable. Recoverability of assets to be held and used is measured by comparing the carrying amount of an asset or asset group to estimated undiscounted future cash flows expected to be generated by the asset or asset group. If the carrying amount of an asset or asset group exceeds its estimated future cash flows, an impairment charge is recognized for the amount by which the carrying amount of the asset or asset group exceeds the estimated fair value of the asset or asset group. Long-lived assets to be disposed of by sale are reported at the lower of their carrying amounts or their estimated fair values less costs to sell and are not depreciated.
Revenue Recognition. We derive revenues principally from sales of integrated circuit products and licensing of our intellectual property and also generate revenues through sales of products that connect medical devices and by performing software hosting, software development and other services. The timing of revenue recognition and the amount of revenue actually recognized in each case depends upon a variety of factors, including the specific terms of each arrangement and the nature of our deliverables and obligations. Unearned revenues consist primarily of license fees for intellectual property with continuing performance obligations.
Revenues from sales of our products are recognized at the time of shipment, or when title and risk of loss pass to the customer and all other criteria for revenue recognition are met, if later. Revenues from providing services are recognized when earned. Revenues from providing services were less than 10% of total revenues for all periods presented.
We grant licenses or otherwise provide rights to use portions of our intellectual property portfolio, which, among other rights, includes certain patent rights essential to and/or useful in the manufacture and sale of certain wireless products. Licensees pay royalties based on their sales of products incorporating or using our licensed intellectual property and may also pay a fixed license fee in one or more installments. License fees are recognized over the estimated period of benefit of the license to the licensee, typically 5 to 15 years. Royalties are generally based upon a percentage of the wholesale (i.e., licensee’s) selling price of complete licensed products, net of certain permissible deductions (including transportation, insurance, packing costs and other items). We broadly provide per unit royalty caps that apply to certain categories of complete wireless devices, namely smartphones, tablets and laptops, which in general, effectively provide for a maximum royalty amount per device. We earn royalties on such licensed products sold worldwide by our licensees at the time that the licensees’ sales occur. Our licensees, however, do not report and pay royalties owed for sales in any given quarter until after the conclusion of that quarter, which is generally the following quarter. We recognize royalty revenues based on royalties reported by licensees during the quarter and when all other revenue recognition criteria are met.
We record reductions to revenues for customer incentive arrangements, including volume-related and other pricing rebates as well as cost reimbursements for marketing and other activities involving certain of our products and technologies. The charges for such arrangements are recorded as a reduction to accounts receivable or as other current liabilities based on whether we have the contractual right of offset. We recognize the liability based on the estimated amount of the incentive, or if not reasonably estimated, the maximum potential liability, at the later of the date at which we record the related revenues or the date at which we offer the incentive or, if payment is contingent, when the contingency is resolved. We reverse accruals for unclaimed incentive amounts to revenues when the unclaimed amounts are no longer subject to payment.
Concentrations. Revenues in fiscal 2018 and 2017 were negatively impacted by our continued dispute with Apple Inc. and Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., Ltd./Foxconn, its affiliates and other suppliers to Apple. We did not record any revenues in fiscal 2018 or the third or fourth quarter of fiscal 2017 for royalties due on sales of Apple’s products.
A significant portion of our revenues are concentrated with a small number of customers/licensees of our QCT and QTL segments. Revenues from three customers/licensees comprised 16%, 11% and 11% of total consolidated revenues in fiscal 2018. Revenues from two customers/licensees comprised 17% and 18% in fiscal 2017 and 16% and 24% in fiscal 2016. Excluding the unpaid royalty receivables due from suppliers to Apple (Note 2), aggregate accounts receivable from three customers/licensees comprised 37% and 28% of accounts receivable at September 30, 2018 and September 24, 2017, respectively.
We rely on sole- or limited-source suppliers for some products, particularly products in the QCT segment, subjecting us to possible shortages of raw materials or manufacturing capacity. While we have established alternate suppliers for certain technologies that we consider critical, the loss of a supplier or the inability of a supplier to meet performance or quality specifications or delivery schedules could harm our ability to meet our delivery obligations and/or negatively impact our revenues, business operations and ability to compete for future business.
Shipping and Handling Costs. Costs incurred for shipping and handling are included in cost of revenues. Amounts billed to a customer for shipping and handling are reported as revenues.
Share-Based Compensation. Share-based compensation expense for equity-classified awards, principally related to restricted stock units (RSUs), is measured at the grant date, or at the acquisition date for awards assumed in business combinations, based on the estimated fair value of the award and is recognized over the employee’s requisite service period. Share-based compensation expense is adjusted to exclude amounts related to share-based awards that are expected to be forfeited.
The fair values of RSUs are estimated based on the fair market values of the underlying stock on the dates of grant or dates the RSUs are assumed. If RSUs do not have the right to participate in dividends, the fair values are discounted by the dividend yield. The weighted-average estimated fair values of employee RSUs that contain only service requirements to vest granted during fiscal 2018, 2017 and 2016 were $62.61, $66.54 and $53.56 per share, respectively. Upon vesting, we issue new shares of common stock. For the majority of RSUs, shares are issued on the vesting dates net of the amount of shares needed to satisfy statutory tax withholding requirements to be paid by us on behalf of the employees. As a result, the actual number of shares issued will be fewer than the number of RSUs outstanding. The annual pre-vest forfeiture rate for RSUs was estimated to be approximately 6%, 5% and 4% in fiscal 2018, 2017 and 2016, respectively.
Total share-based compensation expense, related to all of our share-based awards, was comprised as follows (in millions):
Legal and Regulatory Proceedings. We are currently involved in certain legal and regulatory proceedings. Litigation and investigations are inherently uncertain, and we face difficulties in evaluating or estimating likely outcomes or ranges of possible loss in antitrust and trade regulation investigations in particular. Investigations by antitrust and trade regulation agencies are not conducted in a consistent manner across jurisdictions. Further, each country and agency has different sets of laws, rules and regulations, both substantive and procedural, as well as different legal principles, theories and potential remedies, and some agencies may seek to use the investigation to advance domestic policy goals. Depending on the jurisdiction, these investigations can involve non-transparent procedures under which we may not receive access to evidence relied upon by the enforcement agency or that may be exculpatory and may not be informed of the specific legal theories or evidence considered or relied upon by the agency. Unlike in civil litigation in the United States, in foreign proceedings, we may not be entitled to discovery or depositions, allowed to cross-examine witnesses or confront our accusers. As a result, we may not be aware of, and may not be entitled to know, all allegations against us, or the information or documents provided to, or discovered or prepared by, the agency. Accordingly, we may have little or no idea what an agency’s intent is with respect to liability, penalties or the timing of a decision. In many cases the agencies are given significant discretion, and any available precedent may have limited, if any, predictive value in their jurisdictions, much less in other jurisdictions. Accordingly, we cannot predict the outcome of these matters.
If there is at least a reasonable possibility that a material loss may have been incurred associated with pending legal and regulatory proceedings, we disclose such fact, and if reasonably estimable, we provide an estimate of the possible loss or range of possible loss. We record our best estimate of a loss related to pending legal and regulatory proceedings when the loss is considered probable and the amount can be reasonably estimated. Where a range of loss can be reasonably estimated with no best estimate in the range, we record the minimum estimated liability. As additional information becomes available, we assess the potential liability related to pending legal and regulatory proceedings and revise our estimates and update our disclosures accordingly. Our legal costs associated with defending ourself are recorded to expense as incurred.
Foreign Currency. Certain foreign subsidiaries use a local currency as the functional currency. Resulting translation gains or losses are recognized as a component of accumulated other comprehensive income. Transaction gains or losses related to balances denominated in a currency other than the functional currency are recognized in the consolidated statements of operations.
Income Taxes. The asset and liability approach is used to recognize deferred tax assets and liabilities for the expected future tax consequences of temporary differences between the carrying amounts and the tax bases of assets and liabilities. Tax law and rate changes are reflected in income in the period such changes are enacted. We record a valuation allowance to reduce deferred tax assets to the amount that is more likely than not to be realized. We include interest and penalties related to income taxes, including unrecognized tax benefits, within income tax expense. We classify all deferred tax assets and liabilities as noncurrent in the consolidated balance sheets.
Our income tax returns are based on calculations and assumptions that are subject to examination by the Internal Revenue Service and other tax authorities. In addition, the calculation of our tax liabilities involves dealing with uncertainties in the application of complex tax regulations. We recognize liabilities for uncertain tax positions based on a two-step process. The first step is to evaluate the tax position for recognition by determining if the weight of available evidence indicates that it is more likely than not that the position will be sustained on audit, including resolution of related appeals or litigation processes, if any. The second step is to measure the tax benefit as the largest amount that is more than 50% likely of being realized upon settlement. While we believe we have appropriate support for the positions taken on our tax returns, we regularly assess the potential outcomes of examinations by tax authorities in determining the adequacy of our provision for income taxes. We continually assess the likelihood and amount of potential adjustments and adjust the income tax provision, income taxes payable and deferred taxes in the period in which the facts that give rise to a revision become known.
Beginning in fiscal 2018, we recognize excess tax benefits and shortfall tax detriments associated with share-based awards in the consolidated statements of operations, as a component of income tax expense, when realized. Prior to fiscal 2018, we recognized such excess tax benefits and shortfall tax detriments directly to stockholders’ equity when realized since, in the case of shortfall tax detriments, we had a sufficient APIC windfall pool. An excess tax benefit occurs when the actual tax benefit realized by us upon an employee’s disposition of a share-based award exceeds the deferred tax asset, if any, associated with the award that we had recorded. A shortfall tax detriment occurs when the actual tax benefit realized by us upon an employee’s disposition of a share-based award is less than the deferred tax asset, if any, associated with the award that we have recorded.
Earnings (Loss) Per Common Share. Basic earnings (loss) per common share are computed by dividing net income attributable to Qualcomm by the weighted-average number of common shares outstanding during the reporting period. Diluted earnings per common share are computed by dividing net income attributable to Qualcomm by the combination of dilutive common share equivalents, comprised of shares issuable under our share-based compensation plans and shares subject to accelerated share repurchase agreements, if any, and the weighted-average number of common shares outstanding during the reporting period. Due to the net loss in fiscal 2018, all of the common share equivalents issuable under share-based compensation plans and accelerated share repurchase agreements entered into in fiscal 2018 had an anti-dilutive effect and were therefore excluded from the computation of diluted loss per share. The following table provides information about the diluted earnings per share calculation (in millions):
Recent Accounting Pronouncements.
Share-based Awards: In March 2016, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) issued new guidance that changed the accounting for share-based awards, including income taxes, classification of awards and classification in the statement of cash flows. We adopted the new guidance in the first quarter of fiscal 2018. In accordance with the new guidance, excess tax benefits or deficiencies associated with share-based awards are recognized through earnings when the awards vest or settle, rather than in stockholders’ equity. In fiscal 2018, net excess tax benefits associated with share-based awards of $22 million were recognized in income tax expense. In addition, cash flows related to excess tax benefits are presented as an operating activity and cash payments made on an employee’s behalf for withheld shares are presented as financing activities, with the prior periods adjusted accordingly. As a result of these changes, amounts for fiscal 2017 and fiscal 2016 have been adjusted as follows: net cash provided by operating activities increased by $308 million and $232 million, respectively, with a corresponding offset to net cash used in financing activities. The new guidance also impacts our earnings per share calculation as the estimate of dilutive common share equivalents under the treasury stock method no longer assumes that the estimated tax benefits realized when an award is settled are used to repurchase shares. There was no impact of this change on our calculation of earnings per share as a result of the net loss for fiscal 2018. We elected to continue our practice of estimating forfeitures expected to occur in determining the amount of compensation cost to be recognized each period.
Revenue Recognition: In May 2014, the FASB issued new guidance related to revenue recognition, which outlines a comprehensive revenue recognition model and supersedes most current revenue recognition guidance. The new guidance requires a company to recognize revenue as control of goods or services transfers to a customer at an amount that reflects the expected consideration to be received in exchange for those goods or services. It defines a five-step approach for recognizing revenue, which may require a company to use more judgment and make more estimates than under the current guidance. We will adopt the new guidance in the first quarter of fiscal 2019 using the modified retrospective approach, with the cumulative effect of applying the new guidance recognized as an adjustment to the opening retained earnings balance. We currently estimate such adjustment will result in an increase of approximately $800 million to $1.0 billion to the opening retained earnings balance for fiscal 2019, primarily related to the impacts described below, net of the associated tax effects. We have finalized our identification of changes to policy, processes and systems, as well as our assessment of data availability, and we are in the process of finalizing changes to our controls and presentation necessary to meet the additional disclosure requirements of the guidance in the notes to the consolidated financial statements.
We currently expect the adoption of this new guidance to most significantly impact our licensing business (Qualcomm Technology Licensing, or QTL). Specifically, we expect a change in the timing of revenues recognized from sales-based royalties, which are the vast majority of QTL’s revenues. We currently recognize sales-based royalties as revenues in the period in which such royalties are reported by licensees, which is after the conclusion of the quarter in which the licensees’ sales occur and when all other revenue recognition criteria are met. Under the new guidance, we will be required to estimate and recognize sales-based royalties in the period in which the associated sales occur, resulting in an acceleration of revenue recognition compared to the current method. As a result of recognizing royalty revenues based on estimates, adjustments to revenues will be required in subsequent periods based on the actual amounts reported by licensees. Upon adoption of the new guidance, licenses to use portions of our intellectual property portfolio will be considered one performance obligation, and license fees will be recognized as revenues on a straight-line basis over the estimated period of benefit of the license to the licensee, which is similar to the recognition of license revenues under the current guidance. We have historically accounted for customer incentive arrangements in our licensing and semiconductor businesses, including volume-related and other pricing rebates or cost reimbursements for marketing and other activities involving certain of our products and technologies, in part based on the maximum potential liability. Under the new guidance, we will estimate the amount of all customer incentives. We do not otherwise expect the adoption of the new guidance to have a material impact on our businesses.
Financial Assets: In January 2016, the FASB issued new guidance on classifying and measuring financial instruments, which requires that (i) all equity investments, other than equity-method investments, in unconsolidated entities generally be measured at fair value through earnings and (ii) when the fair value option has been elected for financial liabilities, changes in fair value due to instrument-specific credit risk be recognized separately in other comprehensive income. Additionally, it changes the disclosure requirements for financial instruments. For equity investments that do not have readily determinable fair values, we expect to use the measurement alternative, which is defined as cost, less impairments, adjusted by observable price changes in orderly transactions for identical or similar investments. We anticipate the adoption of the new guidance will increase the volatility of our investment and other income, net due to recording the changes in fair value of equity investments through earnings. We will adopt the new guidance in the first quarter of fiscal 2019 using the modified retrospective transition method for equity investments that have readily determinable fair values, with the cumulative effect of applying the new guidance recognized as an adjustment to opening retained earnings in the year of adoption, and the prospective transition method for equity investments that do not have readily determinable fair values. Upon adoption, the unrealized gains on our marketable securities of $63 million at September 30, 2018 will be recognized as an adjustment to opening retained earnings.
In June 2016, the FASB issued new guidance that changes the accounting for recognizing impairments of financial assets. Under the new guidance, credit losses for certain types of financial instruments will be estimated based on expected losses. The new guidance also modifies the impairment models for available-for-sale debt securities and for purchased financial assets with credit deterioration since their origination. The new guidance will be effective for us starting in the first quarter of fiscal 2021 and generally requires the modified retrospective transition method, with the cumulative effect of applying the new guidance recognized as an adjustment to opening retained earnings in the year of adoption, except for certain financial assets where the prospective transition method is required, such as available-for-sale debt securities for which an other-than-temporary impairment has been recorded. Early adoption is permitted starting in the first quarter of fiscal 2020. We are in the process of determining the effects the adoption will have on our consolidated financial statements and whether to adopt the new guidance early.
Leases: In February 2016, the FASB issued new guidance related to leases that outlines a comprehensive lease accounting model and supersedes the current lease guidance. The new guidance requires lessees to recognize lease liabilities and corresponding right-of-use assets for all leases with lease terms of greater than 12 months. It also changes the definition of a lease and expands the disclosure requirements of lease arrangements. We will adopt the new guidance in the first quarter of fiscal 2020 and expect to use the modified retrospective approach and to elect certain practical expedients, with the cumulative effect of applying the new guidance recognized as an adjustment to opening retained earnings in the year of adoption. We are in the process of determining the effects the adoption will have on our consolidated financial statements.
Hedge Instruments: In August 2017, the FASB issued new guidance that expands and refines hedge accounting for both financial and non-financial risks, aligns the recognition and presentation of the effects of hedging instruments and hedged items in the financial statements, and includes targeted improvements related to the assessment of hedge effectiveness. The new guidance also modifies disclosure requirements for hedging activities. We will adopt the new guidance as of the beginning of the first quarter of fiscal 2019 using the modified retrospective transition method, with the cumulative effect of applying the new guidance recognized as an adjustment to opening retained earnings, which is expected to be negligible. We do not expect the effects of the adoption to have a material impact on our consolidated financial statements.
Other: In August 2016, the FASB issued new guidance related to the classification of certain cash receipts and cash payments on the statement of cash flows. We will adopt the new guidance in the first quarter of fiscal 2019 using the retrospective transition method for each period presented and do not expect the effects of the adoption to have a material impact on our consolidated statements of cash flows.
In October 2016, the FASB issued new guidance that changes the accounting for income tax effects of intra-entity transfers of assets other than inventory. Under the new guidance, the selling (transferring) entity is required to recognize a current tax expense or benefit upon transfer of the asset. Similarly, the purchasing (receiving) entity is required to recognize a deferred tax asset or deferred tax liability, as well as the related deferred tax benefit or expense, upon receipt of the asset. We will adopt the new guidance in the first quarter of fiscal 2019 using the modified retrospective transition method, with the cumulative effect of applying the new guidance recognized as an adjustment to opening retained earnings in the year of adoption. We estimate the increase to the opening retained earnings to be approximately $2.5 billion, primarily as the result of establishing a deferred tax asset on the basis difference of certain intellectual property distributed from one of our foreign subsidiaries to a subsidiary in the United States in fiscal 2018 (Note 3).
In November 2016, the FASB issued new guidance related to the classification and presentation of changes in restricted cash and cash equivalents in the statement of cash flows. We will adopt the new guidance in the first quarter of fiscal 2019 using the retrospective transition method for each period presented, which will result in certain amounts in fiscal 2017 and 2018 to be adjusted to conform to the new guidance upon adoption in the first quarter of fiscal 2019. During fiscal 2017 and 2018, we had restricted cash and cash equivalents related to funds deposited as collateral for outstanding letters of credit in connection with the NXP Purchase Agreement (Note 9). Restricted cash and cash equivalents related to the outstanding letters of credit totaled $700 million at the end of each of the first, second and third quarters of fiscal 2017 and $2.0 billion at the end of each of the fourth quarter of fiscal 2017 and the first, second and third quarters of fiscal 2018. There was no restricted cash at the end of the fourth quarter of fiscal 2018. Additionally, at the end of the third quarter of fiscal 2018, we had restricted cash and cash equivalents of $2.8 billion related to irrevocably deposited cash to redeem notes in July 2018. Otherwise, we do not expect the effects of the retrospective adoption to have a material impact on our consolidated statements of cash flows.