Qualcomm Company Brief

PDF version of this report
You must have Adobe Acrobat reader to view, save, or print PDF files. The
reader is available for free

Company Brief

by Faulkner Staff

Docid: 00016018

Publication Date: 2204

Report Type: VENDOR


Qualcomm, based in San Diego, California, designs and manufactures semiconductors and wireless telecommunications products. Its software and
chipsets are licensed by other manufacturers, developers, and operators worldwide for use in smartphones, laptops, tablets, and a variety of
consumer electronics and gaming devices. It is the pioneer of Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) wireless technology and has been a leader
in developing wireless products in the realms of 3G, 4G, 5G, the Internet of Things, and mobile software platforms. This company brief profiles
Qualcomm and its recent activities.

Report Contents:

Fast Facts

[return to top of this

Name: Qualcomm
5775 Morehouse Drive
San Diego, CA 92121
Phone: (858) 587-1121
Fax: (858) 658-2100
Web: http://www.qualcomm.com/
Type: Wireless Communications Technologies Provider
Stock Symbol: QCOM
Founded: 1985
Number of Employees: 41,000


[return to top of this

Headquartered in San Diego, California, Qualcomm is a global leader in the development and distribution of technologies for the wireless
industry, establishing themselves as a key innovator for 3G (third generation), 4G (fourth generation) and 5G (fifth generation) technologies
and products used in mobile devices and sold across industries and applications such as automotive, consumer electronics, industrial, and edge
networking. Revenues are derived principally from the sale of integrated circuit products, including the Snapdragon family of system-based
solutions. The company’s position as a leading developer of wireless and chip platforms allows it to collaborate with manufacturers, operators,
developers, system integrators, cloud providers, tool vendors, service providers, governments, and industry standards organizations.

The largest single portion of its business, accounting for more than one-third of its income, comes from licensing and royalties for its
approximate 9,400 US patents for wireless technologies. In total, the company has over 140,000 patents and patent applications. Qualcomm lists
more than 450 individual licensees for its intellectual property, and over 150 5G licenses alone, including multiyear patent license agreements
with every major handset OEM.

History & Milestone Events

Qualcomm began operating in 1985, offering contract research and
development services as well as product manufacturing on a limited scale.
The company began shipping two-way OmniTRACS mobile terminals and
providing messaging services to OmniTRACS system subscribers in 1988. In
1993, Qualcomm developed Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) technology,
which was adopted as an industry standard. The next year, the company
formed Globalstar LP in collaboration with Loral Space Systems to operate
its Globalstar low-earth-orbiting, satellite-based wireless communications
system. In 1999, Globalstar service began in with a full complement of 48

Qualcomm introduced its BREW platform in November 2001, and operators
using the technology signed a total of one million BREW users during the
first quarter of 2002. Also in 2002, it introduced its CMX multimedia
software, which was licensed and launched in the US by
Sprint. Qualcomm acquired a user interface company and a
semiconductor company in 2004 to support development of advanced handsets
and CDMA-based 3G services. During the next year, it made changes to its
executive leadership: Dr. Irwin Mark Jacobs resigned from the position of
CEO effective July 1, and Qualcomm promoted his son, Dr. Paul Jacobs, to
CEO, and Steven Altman to the position of president. The company also
named new presidents for its MediaFLO, Qualcomm Europe, Qualcomm
Technology Licensing, and Qualcomm Wireless Business Systems divisions.

In January 2006, Qualcomm completed its purchases of semiconductor
company Berkana Wireless and OFDMA-developer Flarion Technologies. In
November, Qualcomm bought Chicago-based nPhase, a provider of
machine-to-machine services. The following year, the company signed
agreements with Verizon Wireless and AT&T’s wireless unit to deliver
mobile TV and streaming video to customers through Qualcomm’s MediaFLO USA
subsidiary. It agreed to acquire Atlanta-based Firethorn, a developer of
mobile banking systems, and acquired San Diego-based SoftMax, a developer
of noise reduction systems for mobile devices. In April of 2007, Nokia
refused to pay Qualcomm royalties after its license expired. This led both
companies to file lawsuits. In June, the US ITC banned phone imports to
the US that contain Qualcomm chipsets said to infringe upon certain
Broadcom patents, a move that Qualcomm said could cost the company $2.4
billion USD over five years. 

In 2008, Qualcomm revised its corporate structure to increase global
executive representation and unify its businesses. It acquired the assets
of the Ronda Grupo, which were subsequently added to its European fleet
management business. Also, the company signed an agreement with Sky Link,
the largest CDMA network operator in Russia, to bring its BREW mobile data
to 31 regions of the Russian Federation. Additionally, Qualcomm completed
the first data call using High-Speed Packet Access Plus (HSPA+) network
technology; it achieved a download rate of 20 Mbps in a 5 MHz band.

The following year, the company acquired select graphics and multimedia
technology assets, intellectual property, and resources from AMD’s
handheld business. It also announced the widespread availability of its
FLO TV service to 200 million customers across the US. It also formed
nPhase, a joint M2M venture with Verizon Wireless, and announced
industry-first HSPA+ and multi-mode 3G/LTE chipsets. In 2010, Qualcomm
announced plans to bid in the upcoming Indian wireless auction, planning
to purchase space on the 2.3 GHz spectrum during the Broadband Wireless
Auction (BWA). In October, Qualcomm purchased iSkoot Technologies, a
newly-formed, San Francisco-based mobile applications vendor. In
December, the company agreed to sell its Lower 700 MHz D and E Block
(Channel 55 and 56) to AT&T for $1.925 billion as part of its decision
to shut down its FLO TV business. In 2011, it discontinued the FLO TV
wireless streaming service and sold related spectrum to AT&T. It also
acquired Atheros, a provider of connectivity and network systems, in an
effort to diversify beyond cellular platforms. It signed agreements with
both Powermat and Duracell to develop wireless charging technology, as
well as acquired fleet management firm provider Sylectus. It also launched
quad-core Snapdragon processor designed for tablet and smartphones. In
addition, it acquired the technology from HaloIPT, a provider of wireless
charging technology for electric road vehicles.

In 2012, Qualcomm implemented a new corporate structure that includes
parent company Qualcomm Incorporated, which consists of QTL and corporate
functions, as well as most of Qualcomm’s patent portfolio, and a wholly
owned subsidiary, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. (QTI). QTI, along with its
subsidiaries, now operates substantially all of Qualcomm’s research and
development activities, as well as product and services businesses,
including its semiconductor business QCT. In 2013, William Keitel retired
as CFO. George Davis, the former executive vice president and CFO of
Applied Materials, Inc., replaced Keitel. In 2015, Qualcomm reached an
antitrust settlement of $975 million USD with China. Also in 2015, the
company reported that it is investing an aggregate of $40 million into
four Chinese companies, as well as the China Walden Venture Investments.
In 2016, it signed a 3G/4G China patent license agreement with Lenovo. In
early 2017, Qualcomm completed a joint venture under the name RF360
Holdings Singapore PTE Ltd. (RF360 Holdings). The joint venture will allow
Qualcomm’s RFFE business unit to deliver RFFE modules and RF filters into
integrated systems for mobile devices and other business segments. In
February 2018, Qualcomm rejected Broadcom’s bid to buy the company for $82
USD per share, or approximately $121 billion USD. At this time, Qualcomm
increased its bid to buy NXP to $44 billion USD.

In February 2019, the company expanded 5G test networks to include
end-to-end over-the-air (OTA) configurations for both millimeter wave
(mmWave) and sub-6 GHz bands. In 2020, Qualcomm introduced its third 5G
modem, the X60. It has a smaller footprint than the X50 and X55, as well
as enhanced energy efficiency. It also features Qualcomm’s
third-generation QTM535 mmWave antenna module with carrier aggregation
between Sub-6 and mmWave bands in FDD-TDD. Qualcomm continues to face
regulatory scrutiny both in the United States in abroad. It is currently
under investigation to decide whether it engaged in anti-competitive
behavior in the EU by using its market position in 5G baseband processors
in the radio frequency chip market.

The corporation is organized on the basis of products and services and has three reportable segments. Business is conducted
primarily through the Qualcomm CDMA Technologies (QTC) semiconductor business and the Qualcomm
Technology Licensing (QTL) operation. QCT develops and supplies integrated circuits and system software based on
3G/4G/5G and other technologies, including radio frequency front-end (RFFE) for use in mobile devices, automotive systems for telematics,
connectivity and digital cockpit (also known as infotainment) and IoT including wireless networks, broadband gateway
equipment, consumer electronic devices and industrial devices. QTL grants licenses or otherwise provides rights to use
portions of its intellectual property portfolio, which includes certain patent rights essential to and/or useful in the
manufacture and sale of wireless products. There is also the Qualcomm Strategic Initiatives (QSI) reportable segment that makes
strategic investments, as well as nonreportable segments, including Qualcomm Government Technologies (QGOV), a cloud AI inference
processing initiative, and other technology and service initiatives.

Key Executives

[return to top of this

Qualcomm’s key executives include:

  • Cristiano Amon – President and Chief Executive Officer, Qualcomm Incorporated
  • Akash Palkhiwala – Chief Financial Officer, Qualcomm Incorporated
  • Alex Rogers – President, Qualcomm Technology Licensing (QTL) and Global Affairs, Qualcomm Incorporated
  • Ann Chaplin – General Counsel & Corporate Secretary Qualcomm Incorporated
  • Heather Ace – Chief Human Resources Officer, Qualcomm Incorporated
  • Dr. James H. Thompson – Chief Technology Officer, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc.

Major Products

[return to top of this

Table 1 illustrates Qualcomm’s main product and service areas.

Table 1. Qualcomm’s Key Product and Service Areas
Product Description Competitors
Wireless Networks Qualcomm continues to develop and offer
the latest wireless network technology to telecom operators.
Offers include:

  • CDMA2000 1X 
  • 1X Advanced
  • EV-DO 
  • EV-DO Rev. B
  • DO Advanced
  • WCDMA+
  • HSPA
  • HSPA+
  • HSPA+ Advanced
  • LTE
  • LTE Advanced
  • Femtocells
Bluetooth Qualcomm offers Bluetooth hardware and
software products for portable devices.
Texas Instruments
Chipsets  Chipsets provide OEMs and device
developers with platforms for mobile phones, smartbooks, and other
devices. Products include:

  • Snapdragon Chipsets
  • Mobile Station Modem (MSM) Chipsets
  • Mobile Data Modem (MDM) Chipsets
  • Femtocell Station Modems
  • Gobi (Global Mobile Internet Technology)
  • Single Chip Solutions
  • Power Management Chips
  • RF Processors
  • CDMA2000 Systems
  • WCDMA/HSPA+ Systems
Texas Instruments
OS Platforms Qualcomm continues to develop its
operating system platforms. Its product lines include four major

  • Android – Qualcomm is a member of the
    Open Handset Alliance, which is partnering with Google to
    develop and enhance the Android mobile device platform
  • HP webOS – The HP webOS platform was
    designed around web-based information, which is where so much
    of your life resides
Licensing Qualcomm licenses its products to major
industry manufacturers who build products such as wireless
handsets, infrastructure, components, and test-related products.
Licensing makes up more than one-third of Qualcomm’s overall
Texas Instruments
Augmented Reality Qualcomm supports Augmented Reality
(AR) which is the concept of superimposing virtual content
(graphics) on top of a view of the real world as seen through a
camera. From gaming and play to interactive media/marketing to
instructional how-to/aid, augmented reality opens the door for new
mobile applications and services. Vuforia is Qualcomm’s AR
smartphone platform.

Major Competitors

[return to top of this

Qualcomm’s primary rivals include:

Recent Activity

[return to top of this

April 2022 – Qualcomm Inc. announced it completed its acquisition of the Arriver unit of Veoneer, Inc. from SSW Partners. Qualcomm will incorporate Arriver’s
Computer Vision, Drive Policy, and Driver Assistance assets into its Snapdragon Ride Platform portfolio, building on its previous collaboration with Arriver, when
it was owned by Veoneer. Veoneer and Qualcomm will also expand their strategic collaboration, signing a new agreement that ensures the continuation of service and
support for customers and details future collaboration on roadmap alignment and technology cooperation in the development for Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS).

November – At its annual Investor Day, Qualcomm said it expects its chipset business to grow from approximately $100 billion today to $700 billion in the next
decade, as more devices become intelligently connected. In shorter range goals, new three-year financial targets, include QCT revenues to grow at mid-teens CAGR
with 30 percent or more operating margin by fiscal 2024; handset and RF front-end revenues to grow at least in-line with a 12 percent SAM CAGR by fiscal 2024; and
automotive revenues to grow to approximately $3.5 billion in five years and $8 billion in 10 years, while IoT revenues increase to $9 billion in fiscal 2024.

August – Qualcomm tendered a bid of $37 per share or approximately $4.5 billion to acquire Swedish Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) specialist Veoneer, Inc.
Veoneer is a leader in automotive technology, creating sensors and software designed to prevent crashes and minimize damage when crashes are unavoidable, including the
protection of vehicle occupants with restraint systems. Qualcomm says the purchase of Veoneer would reinforce the company’s commitment to bring advanced technologies to
the automotive industry and represents a natural extension of their digital chassis solutions. In subsequent developments, Qualcomm partnered with investment firm SSW
Partners to prevent a rival bid from Magna International. The deal with SSW calls for the investor to acquire all of the outstanding capital stock of Veoneer,
shortly after which it will sell the Arriver business unit to Qualcomm, who will incorporate Arriver’s Computer Vision, Drive Policy, and Driver Assistance assets into
its Snapdragon Ride Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) solution. SSW will retain Veoneer’s Tier-1 supplier businesses.

July – Don McGuire was appointed senior vice president and chief marketing officer, reporting directly to Cristiano Amon, president and chief
executive officer of Qualcomm Incorporated. McGuire joined Qualcomm in 2016 as vice president of Global Product Marketing and was promoted to senior
vice president in 2020 where he had responsibility for Snapdragon marketing and redefined Qualcomm’s strategic approach to product marketing. Prior to
Qualcomm, he held positions with Intel, Cricket Communications, Sprint PCS, and McCaw Cellular Communications.

March – Qualcomm Technologies completed its agreement to acquire NUVIA for approximately $1.4 billion. The acquisition
is expected to enhance Qualcomm’s Snapdragon technology for 5G computing, and NUVIA CPUs will be integrated across Qualcomm Technologies’ broad portfolio
of products including smartphones, laptops, and infotainment centers in addition to Advanced Driver Assistance Systems, extended reality, and
infrastructure networking solutions. As part of the transaction, NUVIA founders Gerard Williams III, Manu Gulati, and John Bruno and their employees
will be joining Qualcomm.

January 2021 – Qualcomm Incorporated announced that its Board of Directors has unanimously selected Cristiano Amon to succeed Steve Mollenkopf
as CEO, effective June 30, 2021. Amon had served as president of the corporation since January 2018, responsible for the semiconductor business (QCT),
which includes mobile, RF front-end, automotive, and IoT revenue streams as well as the company’s global operations. Mollenkopf informed the Board
of his decision to retire as CEO following 26 years with the Company.


[return to top of this