Qualcomm started as an idea. An agreement. A pact. In 1985, seven individuals met in a den in San Diego for the purpose of creating “quality communications.” Today that den spans across more than 170 offices in more than 40 countries. The idea, however, remains the same.
Who is Qualcomm, and what do we do? We are engineers, scientists and business strategists. We are from many different countries and speak many different languages. We come from diverse cultures and have unique perspectives. Together, we focus on a single goal—invent mobile technology breakthroughs.
Qualcomm Incorporated is an American multinational semiconductor and telecommunications equipment company that designs and markets wireless telecommunications products and services. It derives most of its revenue from chipmaking and the bulk of its profit from patent licensing businesses The company headquarters is located in San Diego, California, United States, and has 224 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.
Qualcomm was created on July 1, 1985 by seven former Linkabit employees led by Irwin Jacobs. The company was named Qualcomm for “QUALity COMMunications.” It started as a contract research and development center largely for government and defense projects.
Qualcomm merged with Omninet in 1988 and raised $3.5 million in funding in order to produce the Omnitracs satellite communications system for trucking companies. Qualcomm grew from eight employees in 1986 to 620 employees in 1991, due to demand for Omnitracs. By 1989, Qualcomm had $32 million in revenues, 50 percent of which was from an Omnitracs contract with Schneider National. Omnitracs profits helped fund Qualcomm’s research and development into code-division multiple access (CDMA) technologies for cell phone networks.
Qualcomm was operating at a loss in the 1990s due to its investment in CDMA research. To obtain funding, the company filed an initial public offering in September 1991 raising $68 million. An additional $486 million was raised in 1995 through the sale of 11.5 million more shares. The second funding round was done to raise money for the mass manufacturing of CDMA-based phones, base-stations, and equipment, after most US-based cellular networks announced they would adopt the CDMA standard. The company had $383 million in annual revenue in 1995 and $814 million by 1996.
In 1991, Qualcomm acquired Eudora, an email client software for the PC that could be used with the OmniTRACS system. The acquisition associated a widely used email client with a company that was little-known at the time.
In 1998, Qualcomm was restructured, leading to a 700-employee layoff. Its cell-phone manufacturing business was also spun-off in order to focus on its higher-margin patents business. The following year, Qualcomm was the fastest growing stock on the market with a 2,621 percent growth over one year. By 2000, Qualcomm had grown to 6,300 employees, $3.2 billion in revenues, and $670 million in profit. 39 percent of its sales were from CDMA technology, followed by licensing (22%), wireless (22%), and other products (17%). Around this time, Qualcomm established offices in Europe, Asia Pacific, and Latin America. By 2001, 65 percent of Qualcomm’s revenues originated from outside the United States with 35 percent coming from South Korea.
In 2005, Paul E. Jacobs, son of Qualcomm founder Dr. Irwin Jacobs, was appointed as Qualcomm’s new CEO. Whereas Irwin Jacobs focused on CDMA patents, Paul Jacobs refocused much of Qualcomm’s new research and development on projects related to the internet of things. Qualcomm announced Steven Mollenkopf would succeed Paul Jacobs as CEO in December 2013. Mollenkopf said he would expand Qualcomm’s focus to wireless technology for cars, wearable devices, and other new markets.
The European Commission fined Qualcomm €997 million for abuse of dominant market position on January 24, 2018. On March 16, 2018, Qualcomm removed executive chairman Paul Jacobsafter he “broached a long-shot bid” for a buyout earlier that week.
In 2018, Qualcomm filed a lawsuit against Intel.“After several meet-and-confers and exchanges of written correspondence, on May 18, Intel appeared willing to cooperate, offering a ‘limited supplemental production of technical materials relating to relevant components designed for 2018 iPhone models’ in exchange for Qualcomm’s agreement that the limited production would satisfy certain requests in the document subpoena,” the US federal court filing states.
A court in the US, on March 15, 2019, ruled that Apple must indemnify Qualcomm for infringing three patents related to mobile technologies. The jury ruled that Apple should pay $31 million to the chip maker. $1.41 per iPhone that used the company’s technology without authorization.
Qualcomm designs various ARM architecture-based CDMA, UMTS and LTE modem chipsets and SoC products under the Snapdragon brand. These chipsets are sold to mobile phone manufacturers such as Kyocera, HTC, Motorola Mobility, Sharp, Sanyo, LG Electronics, Microsoft, Sony, Xiaomi and Samsung for integration into cell phones. Although a “fabless” semiconductor company, meaning Qualcomm does not engage in the actual manufacturing process, the chips the firm has designed are powering a significant number of handsets and devices worldwide, both in CDMA and UMTS markets. As of 2017, Qualcomm is among the top-five semiconductor firms, after Micron Technology, SK Hynix, Intel, and Samsung Electronics.
– OmniTRACS is a two-way satellite communications and geolocation trailer tracking technology designed for the over-the-road transport market. As of April 2012, approximately 1.5 million units have been shipped to businesses in 39 countries on 4 continents.Satellite Phones D
Qualcomm manufactures some of the handsets used on the Globalstar network.
Qualcomm is the inventor of the MediaFLO system, based upon OFDM, which transmits 12-15 television channels within 6 MHz of spectrum. Qualcomm has standardized the lower layers of this design in TIA, and manufactures chips and software to add this television capability to cellphones.
QChat is a cellular/data 2-way push-to-talk voice communications program. Nextel’s original push-to-talk technology operates on the iDen network, but Qualcomm’s Qchat push-to-talk operates on the Evolution-Data Optimized Revision A (EV-DO Rev. A) mobile broadband network. Sprint-Nextel’s first Qchat phones were released in June 2008. Both iDen and Qchat handsets are sold under the Nextel brand. On November 29, 2009 Sprint issued a statement to PhoneNews.com that there are no new QChat handsets on the product development roadmap, but it will continue supporting its existing QChat subscribers.
Qualcomm Gobi is a mobile broadband chipset used mainly for cellular data networking and it is also now used in a few enterprise smart phones (e.g. Motorola ES400). It currently is a 3G technology capable up to HSPA on GSM and EV-DO Rev. A on CDMA carriers. The Gobi chipset is a microprocessor that can load a specific carrier image so that the device appears to be specifically designed for that carrier’s network. Since GSM and CDMA are quite different, and since Gobi devices can switch between them both using the same silicon, their solution is considered to be innovative. Gobi Technology is best suited for large enterprise customers where a single mobile operator cannot serve all of their wireless modem needs since there is not one carrier that provides the same level of service in all the places they need that service. The Gobi solution allows the IT department to roll out a single module on their laptop builds which can be configured to behave exactly like a device that is locked to the carrier that they want to use in that area. In the United States exactly the same hardware can be used on the CDMAnetwork or the GSM network of their choice. For GSM users that travel out of the United States the Gobi solution can be used to avoid international roaming charges by switching the SIM and the device’s carrier image to a local provider instead of incurring the roaming charges. In both scenarios the customer must have different wireless accounts with each provider they wish to use natively. It typically takes 20 seconds for the device to load the carrier image into NVRAM and reset and come back online. Gobi 3000 is the next hardware revision of the Gobi platform and it natively supports HSPA. The model for Gobi 3000 is different. It is a reference design the OEMs can license and produce their own Gobi 3000 compliant modules with their own extensions. Qualcomm does not sell any Gobi 3000 silicon. The reference design allows the same boilerplate hardware and software components for the basis of OEM chips which allow the OEMs to focus on innovations on the mobile broadband platform rather than getting bogged down with low-level RF implementations. Currently, Gobi platforms supported LTE natively. Qualcomm re-branded its Gobi modem products under the Snapdragon X-series branding in December 2014.
Mirasol displays are the world’s first and only reflective, bistable display based on IMOD technology. Qualcomm’s mirasol displays use ambient light as their source of illumination and consume almost no power when the image is unchanged. This results in a very low power display solution that is visible even in direct sunlight.
Qcom is a distinguished company with many awards.
Qualcomm has earned a distinguished reputation that goes beyond CDMA. Qualcomm is among the members of the S&P 100 Index, Barron’s 500, Financial Times Most Valuable Global 500 Companies and FORTUNE 500®. Its unique work environment, dedicated workforce and expertise has also earned Qualcomm a place among Forbes America’s Best Employers and FORTUNE’s Most Admired Companies.
QCOM ALSO EARNED
- IIE Opening Minds Corporate Leadership Award
- Best CSR Case of the Year Award – 2015 China Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Summit
- 2015 SDGE Energy Champion – Communications
- City of San Diego, Waste Reduction and Recycling Awards, Outstanding Achievement Award, 2017
- Digital Empowerment Foundation, mBillionth Award South Asia, 2014
- Disability Equality Index, Best Places to Work, 2016
- EDN China, Top 10 Sustainable Companies, 2014
- FIRST, Founder’s Award, 2014
- G.I. Jobs Magazine, Best Places to Work for Veterans, 2014
- Human Rights Campaign, Corporate Equality Index, 2017
- Newsweek’s Green Rankings, U.S. 500 and Global 500, 2017
- Women of Influence Award Nominee, 2015