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Qualcomm Inc.
S&P 500 Component
IndustryTelecommunications equipment
FoundedSan Diego, California, USA (1985)
FoundersIrwin Jacobs
Andrew Viterbi
Franklin Antonio
Adelia Coffman
Andrew Cohen
Klein Gilhousen
Harvey White

San Diego, California, United States

Coordinates: 32°53′43″N 117°11′45″W / 32.8952°N 117.1957°W / 32.8952; -117.1957
Area servedWorldwide
Key peoplePaul E. Jacobs
(Executive Chairman)
Steven Mollenkopf
Derek Aberle
ProductsCDMA/WCDMA chipsets, Snapdragon , BREW, OmniTRACS, MediaFLO, QChat, mirasol displays, uiOne, Gobi
RevenueIncrease US$ 24.87 billion (2013)[1]
Operating incomeIncrease US$ 07.16 billion (2013)[1]
Net incomeIncrease US$ 06.85 billion (2013)[1]
Total assetsIncrease US$ 45.52 billion (2013)[1]
Total equityIncrease US$ 36.09 billion (2013)[1]
Employees26,000 (2013)[1]
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Qualcomm Inc.
S&P 500 Component
IndustryTelecommunications equipment
FoundedSan Diego, California, USA (1985)
FoundersIrwin Jacobs
Andrew Viterbi
Franklin Antonio
Adelia Coffman
Andrew Cohen
Klein Gilhousen
Harvey White

San Diego, California, United States

Coordinates: 32°53′43″N 117°11′45″W / 32.8952°N 117.1957°W / 32.8952; -117.1957
Area servedWorldwide
Key peoplePaul E. Jacobs
(Executive Chairman)
Steven Mollenkopf
Derek Aberle
ProductsCDMA/WCDMA chipsets, Snapdragon , BREW, OmniTRACS, MediaFLO, QChat, mirasol displays, uiOne, Gobi
RevenueIncrease US$ 24.87 billion (2013)[1]
Operating incomeIncrease US$ 07.16 billion (2013)[1]
Net incomeIncrease US$ 06.85 billion (2013)[1]
Total assetsIncrease US$ 45.52 billion (2013)[1]
Total equityIncrease US$ 36.09 billion (2013)[1]
Employees26,000 (2013)[1]
Qualcomm Research Center in San Diego, California.

Qualcomm Incorporated is an American global semiconductor company that designs and markets wireless telecommunications products and services. The company headquarters are located in San Diego, California, USA. The company has 157 worldwide locations. The parent company is Qualcomm Incorporated (Qualcomm), which includes the Qualcomm Technology Licensing Division (QTL). Qualcomm's wholly owned subsidiary, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. (QTI), operates substantially all of Qualcomm's R&D activities, as well as its product and services businesses, including its semiconductor business, Qualcomm CDMA Technologies. In November 2014, Qualcomm CEO Steve Mollenkopf announced at the company’s annual analyst day meeting held in New York City that the company is planning to target the data center market with new server chips based on ARM technology and plans to make them commercially available by the end of 2015.

Corporate history[edit]

Qualcomm was founded in 1985 by MIT alumnus and UC San Diego professor Irwin M. Jacobs, USC MIT alumnus Andrew Viterbi, Harvey White, Adelia Coffman, Andrew Cohen, Klein Gilhousen, and Franklin Antonio. Jacobs and Viterbi had previously founded Linkabit. Qualcomm's first products and services included the OmniTRACS satellite locating and messaging service, used by long-haul trucking companies, developed from a product called Omninet owned by Parviz Nazarian and Neil Kadisha, and specialized integrated circuits for digital radio communications such as a Viterbi decoder.

In 1990, Qualcomm began the design of the first CDMA-based cellular base station, based upon calculations derived from the CDMA-based OmniTRACS satellite system. This work began as a study contract from AirTouch which was facing a shortage of cellular capacity in Los Angeles. Two years later Qualcomm began to manufacture CDMA cell phones, base stations, and chips. The initial base stations were not reliable and the technology was licensed wholly to Nortel in return for their work in improving the base station switching. The first CDMA technology was standardized as IS-95. Qualcomm has since helped to establish the CDMA2000, WCDMA and LTE cellular standards.

In 1991, Qualcomm acquired Eudora (email client), a PC mail client that could be used with the Omnitracs system. The acquisition also associated a widely used email client with a company that was little-known at the time, Qualcomm.

In 1997, Qualcomm paid $18 million for the naming rights to the Jack Murphy Stadium in San Diego, renaming it to Qualcomm Stadium. The naming rights will belong to Qualcomm until 2017.[2]

In 1999, Qualcomm sold its base station business to Ericsson, and later, sold its cell phone manufacturing business to Kyocera. The company was now focused on developing and licensing wireless technologies and selling ASICs that implement them.

In 2011, Qualcomm announced that Steve Mollenkopf has been promoted to president and chief operating officer of the company, effective November 12. Promoted to CEO on December 16, 2013.[3]

CFO Bill Keitel retired and was replaced by Applied Materials CFO George Davis on March 11, 2013.[4]

Vista Equity Partners took over the Omnitracs business from Qualcomm Incorporated in November 2013.[5]

In October 2014, Qualcomm wrapped up a deal for chip maker CSR Plc for a fee of $2.5 billion, beating its biggest rival Microchip Technology.[6]


Date announced/
publicly reported
November 1997Now SoftwareCalendar and scheduling softwareNot disclosed[7]
January 2000SnapTrackCell-phone tracking software$1 billion[8]
March 2001FleetAdvisorFleet management softwareNot disclosed[9]
September 2004Iridigm Display CorporationDisplay technology$170 million[10]
September 2004Spike TechnologiesSemiconductor design services$19 million[11]
October 2004TrigenixCell phone user interface tools and apps$36 million[12]
August 2005ElataMobile content software$57 million[13][14]
August 2005FlarionWireless Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplex Access$600 million[14][15]
January 2006Barkana Wireless Inc.Radio frequency circuits$56 million[16]
August 2006QualphoneIP-based Multimedia Subsystems (IMS)$18 million[17]
November 2006nPhasemachine-to-machine (M2M) softwareNot disclosed[18]
December 2006Airgo Networks Inc.Wi-fi networkingNot disclosed[19]
December 2006Bluetooth assets of RFMDBluetooth$39 million[20]
November 2007Firethorn HoldingsMobile banking services$210 million[21]
December 2007SoftMaxNoise cancellation for mobile phonesNot disclosed[22]
March 2008Xiam Technologies LtdContent-targeting software$32 million[23]
January 2009AMD handset divisionGraphics and multimedia software$65 million[24]
February 2009Digital FountainIPTV and mobile videoNot disclosed[25]
April 2010TapiocaURL-linkingNot disclosed[26]
September 2010WiPowerWireless charging pads for mobile devicesNot disclosed[27][28]
October 2010iSkootSoftware for social media feeds on mobile devicesNot disclosed[29]
September 2010SandridgeFabless multicore processor designsEstimated $55 million[30]
January 2011AtherosWi-fi networking$3.1 billion[31]
February 2011SylectusWireless technologies for fleet managementNot disclosed[32]
May 2011SolLink (50 million shares)Flat panel displays$40 million[33]
June 2011Rapid BridgeConfigurable semiconductors (LiquidCell)Not disclosed[34]
July 25, 2011GestureTek (some assets)Gesture recognition softwareNot dislosed[35]
September 2011Bigfoot NetworkingNetworkingNot disclosed[36]
September 2011Integrated Device Technology (a division)Video IC design division$60 million[37]
November 2011HaloIPTWireless charging for electric vehiclesNot disclosed[38]
December 2011Pixtronix Inc.Fabless MEMS displays$175–$200 million[39]
June 2012Summit MicroelectronicsProgrammable power integrated circuitsNot disclosed[40]
August 2012DesignArt NetworksMiniature Wi-Fi access pointsNot disclosed[41]
November 2012EPOS Development Ltd (some assets)ultrasound technologies for device inputNot disclosed[42]
May 2013Orb NetworksStreaming video softwareNot disclosed[43]
May 2014WilocityWiGig semiconductor productsEstimated $300 million[44]
January 2014HP Patents2,400 patents related to Palm, iPaq and BitfoneNot disclosed[45][46]
June 2014Black Sand Technologies Inc.Power amplifier technology for wireless devicesNot disclosed[47][48]
Oct 2014CSR plc.Bluetooth for Automotive, Audio, and IoTNot disclosed

Mobile phone standards[edit]

Qualcomm pioneered the commercialization of the cdmaOne (IS-95) standard for wireless cellular communications, following up with CDMA2000, an early standard for third-generation (3G) mobile.

Today, the company is the leading patent holder in advanced 3G mobile technologies, including CDMA2000 1xEV-DO and its evolutions; WCDMA[49] and its higher-speed variant known as HSPA and its evolutions; and TD-SCDMA; as well as patents on 4G. The license streams from the patents on these inventions, and related products, are a major component of Qualcomm's business.

In June 2011, Qualcomm announced that it will be releasing a set of application programming interfaces geared to give Web-based applications deeper links into hardware.[50]

Satellite phone network[edit]

Main article: Globalstar

Beginning in 1991, Qualcomm participated in the development of the Globalstar satellite system along with Loral Space & Communications. It uses a low-earth orbit (LEO) satellite constellation consisting of 44 active satellites. The system is used for voice telephony via hand-held satellite phones, asset tracking and data transfer using mobile satellite modems. The system was designed as a normal IS-95 system, and used the satellite as a "bent pipe" or "repeater" to transfer cellular signals from the handset to the terrestrial base station. Unlike the Iridium system, which routes phone calls between satellites, the Globalstar satellite must always be able to see both the handset and the base station to establish a connection, therefore, there is no coverage over the Earth's poles where there are no satellite orbits. There is also no coverage in locations where the large Globalstar base stations are not in view (some locations in the south atlantic, for examples.) Some of the Globalstar hardware is manufactured by Qualcomm. Like other satellite phone networks Globalstar went bankrupt in 1999, only to be bought up by a group of investors who are currently running the system.

Legal issues[edit]

In April 2006, a dispute between Reliance Communications and Qualcomm over royalty fees cost Qualcomm approximately $11.7b in market capitalization.[51] In July 2007, Reliance and Qualcomm decided to settle the matter and agreed to expand the use of CDMA technology in India.[52]

In June 2007, the U.S. International Trade Commission blocked the import of new cell phone models based on particular Qualcomm microchips. They found that these Qualcomm microchips infringe patents owned by Broadcom. Broadcom has also initiated patent litigation in U.S. courts over this issue. At issue is software designed to extend battery life in chips while users make out-of-network calls. In October, an ITC administrative judge made an initial ruling that Qualcomm violated the Broadcom patent covering that feature and the commission later affirmed the decision. Sprint Nextel Corp. is using a software patch from Qualcomm to get around a U.S. government agency ban on new phones with Qualcomm chips. In August 2007, Judge Rudi Brewster held that Qualcomm had engaged in litigation misconduct by withholding relevant documents during the lawsuit it brought against Broadcom and that Qualcomm employees had lied about their involvement.[53][54]

In July 2009, South Korea’s antitrust watchdog fined Qualcomm a record Won260bn ($207m) for “unfair” business practices related to its chipset sales, sparking strong protests from the company. The Fair Trade Commission accused Qualcomm of abusing its dominant position in the Korean market for CDMA mobile phone chips by charging higher royalties on handset makers that bought modem chips from its competitors, while offering rebates to customers who bought products mainly from the US group, the regulator said in a statement.[55]

In 2009, Qualcomm and Broadcom entered into a settlement and multi-year patent agreement, ending all litigation between the companies.[56]

In 2012, a federal probe was launched into the company’s compliance with the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which bars companies as well as individuals from bribing foreign officials to gain business.[57]

In 2014, China's anti-monopoly regulator announced that Qualcomm was suspected of overcharging and abusing its market position, allegations which could see the company hit with record fines of more than $1 billion.[58]

Qualcomm's role in 3G[edit]

The current UMTS air interfaces are for the most part based on Qualcomm patents, and royalties from these patents represent a significant part of Qualcomm's revenue.

This followed a series of patent-related lawsuits and antitrust complaints, spearheaded by Broadcom, in the US. In 2006, Broadcom started a series of patent-related lawsuits and antitrust complaints against Qualcomm to get what Broadcom regarded fair terms for access to the W-CDMA technologies. Broadcom was soon joined by Nokia and others, and complaints were also filed in the European Commission.[59]

In 2007, the European Commission launched an inquiry into Qualcomm's possible abusing of its dominant position in the market for third-generation phones. The complaints were first lodged in 2005 by leading handset manufacturers Ericsson, Nokia, NEC, Panasonic and Texas Instruments.[60]

In October 2008, Nokia announced it will make a one time payment of $2.29 billion (US) to Qualcomm as part of its patent agreement with the company.[61]

The Chinese TDSCDMA 3G technology was developed primarily to avoid Qualcomm licensing fees, although Qualcomm claims that the Chinese technology still infringes on many Qualcomm patents.


Qualcomm dual-band mobile phone


Management & Diagnostic tool[edit]



QChat is a Push-to-Talk (PTT) technology. The QChat software application was developed by Qualcomm Internet Services (QIS) [72] a division of Qualcomm and part of the Qualcomm Wireless and Internet group.[73] QIS offers a set of software products and content enablement services to support and accelerate the growth of the wireless data market.[73]

Qualcomm developed QChat to provide a reliable method of instant connection and two-way communication between users in different locations, but operating within the same type of network architecture. Prior to the existence of cellular and personal communications services networks, this type of communication was limited to private Land Mobile Radio System (LMR) technology used by public safety and utility service agencies. LMR has limitations, specifically its usage can be restricted by geographic coverage area and by use of disparate frequency bands.

QChat, an application developed for the BREW platform, is a PTT communication technology for 3G networks. QChat handsets and server software allow users to connect instantaneously with other QChat users anywhere in the world with the push of a button. In addition, QChat enables one-to-one (private) and one-to-many (group) calls over the 3G networks.[74]

QChat uses standard Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technologies. VoIP is a voice delivery mechanism that uses the Internet Protocol to manage the delivery of voice information. Voice information is sent in digital form over IP-based data networks (including CDMA) in discrete packets rather than traditional circuit-switched protocols such those used in the public switched telephone network (PSTN).

QChat Working[edit]

QChat users on 3G wireless devices can connect to each other worldwide, in either private or group calls, with the push of a button. QChat uses Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technologies to allow subscribers to communicate by using a PTT button on the handset instead of making a standard cellular call.

QChat calls are created by combining separate point-to-point connections between each IP endpoint; the process is managed by the QChat Applications Server, which is deployed on the carrier’s IP-based Wide Area Network (WAN).

To initiate a call, a user presses the PTT button and receives an immediate indication of whether the call recipient is available. If he or she is, the caller can begin speaking immediately. If the recipient is unavailable, the caller will simply hear a negative response tone instead of a busy signal or voicemail.[74]

QChat and Sprint[edit]

On October 16, 2006 Sprint Nextel announced an agreement with Qualcomm to use QChat to provide high performance push-to-talk services to its customers on the Nationwide Sprint PCS Network, using CDMA2000 1xEV-DO Revision A technology.

QChat is able to inter-operate with iDEN push-to-talk handsets on the Nextel National Network.[75]

Sprint's phones supporting QChat technology were released starting in April 2008, with a trial of business customers in Kansas and Colorado. Sprint then announced that the Nextel Direct Connect devices powered by QChat were available in more than 40 markets in June 2008.

Supported models included:[76]


Qualcomm offices are present in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, Nigeria, Philippines, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, UAE, United Kingdom, United States, and Vietnam.

See also[edit]


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Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]