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Qualcomm, Inc.
Traded as NASDAQ: QCOM
NASDAQ-100 Component
S&P 500 Component
Industry Telecommunications equipment
Founded San Diego, California, U.S.
(1985 (1985))
Founder Irwin Jacobs
Andrew Viterbi
Franklin Antonio
Adelia Coffman
Andrew Cohen
Klein Gilhousen
Harvey White
Headquarters San Diego, California, U.S.
Area served
Key people
Paul E. Jacobs
(Executive Chairman)
Steven Mollenkopf
Derek Aberle
Products CDMA/WCDMA chipsets, Snapdragon , BREW, OmniTRACS, MediaFLO, QChat, mirasol displays, uiOne, Gobi, Qizx
Revenue US$ 26.49 billion (2014)
US$ 08.03 billion (2014)
US$ 07.54 billion (2014)
Total assets US$ 48.57 billion (2014)
Total equity US$ 39.17 billion (2014)
Number of employees
31,000 (2014)[1]
Slogan Enabling the Wireless Industry
Website .com.qualcommwww

Qualcomm Inc. is an American global semiconductor company that designs and markets wireless telecommunications products and services. The company headquarters are located in San Diego, California, United States. 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 the ARM architecture and plans to make them commercially available by the end of 2015.


  • Corporate history 1
  • Acquisitions 2
  • Mobile phone standards 3
  • Satellite phone network 4
  • Legal issues 5
    • Qualcomm's role in 3G 5.1
  • Products 6
    • Software 6.1
      • Management & Diagnostic tool 6.1.1
  • Services 7
    • QChat 7.1
    • QChat Working 7.2
    • QChat and Sprint 7.3
  • See also 8
  • References 9
  • Further reading 10
  • External links 11

Corporate history

Qualcomm was founded in 1985 by Cornell and 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 and now it is one of the leading processor makers for smartphone companies.

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.

The following year, Qualcomm acquired Eudora, an email client for 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 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.

Steve Mollenkopf was promoted to president and chief operating officer of the company, effective November 12, 2011. Later he was promoted to CEO.[3]

CFO Bill Keitel retired and was replaced by

    • Business data for QUALCOMM, Inc.:
  • Hoover's
  • Reuters
  • SEC filings

  • Official website

External links

  • Mock, Dave (2005-02-28). The Qualcomm Equation. American Management Association.  

Further reading

  1. ^ "QUALCOMM, Inc.: NASDAQ:QCOM quotes & news - Google Finance". August 14, 2014. 
  2. ^ "Stadium History | Qualcomm Stadium". Retrieved 2012-11-25. 
  3. ^ Staff, EE Times. "Qualcomm names Mollenkopf president, COO." June 16, 2015. Retrieved June 16, 2015.
  4. ^ "Qualcomm CFO William Keitel To Retire". RTT News. Retrieved 30 January 2013. 
  5. ^ "Omnitracs - Vista". Retrieved October 2, 2015. 
  6. ^ a b "Qualcomm trumps Microchip with $2.5 billion deal for Britain's CSR" (Press release). Reuters. 15 October 2014. 
  7. ^ Ian King (July 23, 2015). "Qualcomm to Cut Jobs, Review Structure as Sales Decline". 
  8. ^ Gardner, Dana (November 1997). "Qualcomm purchases Now Software". Infoworld. Retrieved June 6, 2014. 
  9. ^ Luening, Erich (January 26, 2000). "Qualcomm buys software maker for $1 billion". CNET. Retrieved June 6, 2014. 
  10. ^ "Qualcomm buys FleetAdvisor". Logistics Management & Distribution Report. April 1, 2001. 
  11. ^ "Qualcomm buys color-display technology". The Wall Street Journal. September 10, 2004. Retrieved June 5, 2014. 
  12. ^ "Qualcomm acquires Spike Technologies to Bolster 3G Capability". EE Times. September 30, 2004. 
  13. ^ Charny, Ben (October 12, 2004). "Qualcomm tries Trigenix on for size". CNET. Retrieved June 6, 2014. 
  14. ^ Lawson, Stephen (August 2005). "Qualcomm buys mobile content company Elata". TechWorld (IDG News Service). Retrieved June 5, 2014. 
  15. ^ a b Kharif, Olga (August 21, 2005). "Why Qualcomm has its wallet out". Businessweek. Retrieved June 6, 2014. 
  16. ^ Blau, John (August 11, 2005). "Qualcomm to buy Flarion for $600 million". InfoWorld. Retrieved June 6, 2014. 
  17. ^ "Qualcomm Acquires Chip Designer Berkana". Los Angeles Times. January 6, 2006. Retrieved June 6, 2014. 
  18. ^ "Qualcomm pays $18 million for Qualphone". EE Times. August 18, 2006. Retrieved June 5, 2014. 
  19. ^ Kawamoto, Dawn (November 16, 2006). "Qualcomm acquires nPhase". CNET. Retrieved June 6, 2014. 
  20. ^ Jones, Dan (December 4, 2006). "Qualcomm Buys Airgo, RFMD Assets". Light Reading. Retrieved June 6, 2014. 
  21. ^ "Qualcomm buys Airgo, RFMD’s Bluetooh business". EE Times. December 4, 2006. Retrieved June 5, 2014. 
  22. ^ Gardner, David (November 14, 2007). "Qualcomm to buy Firethorn to Boost Mobile Services Effort". InformationWeek. Retrieved June 6, 2014. 
  23. ^ Malykhina, Elena. "Qualcomm Buys SoftMax to Reduce Noise on Mobile Phones". InformationWeek. Retrieved June 6, 2014. 
  24. ^ Deffree, Suzanne (March 11, 2008). "Qualcomm pays $32M for content-targeting software maker". EDN Network. Retrieved June 6, 2014. 
  25. ^ Ferguson, Scott (January 20, 2009). "AMD Sells Handset Division to Qualcomm for $65 million". eWeek. Retrieved June 6, 2014. 
  26. ^ Ali, Rafat (February 27, 2009). "Qualcomm Buys Online and Mobile Video Tech Provider Digital Fountain". Giga Om. Retrieved June 18, 2014. 
  27. ^ Ankeny, Jason (July 12, 2010). "Qualcomm acquires URL-linking startup Tapioca Mobile". FierceMobileIT. Retrieved June 18, 2014. 
  28. ^ Ray, Bill (February 29, 2012). "Qualcomm poised to zap wireless charging rival into dust". The Register. Retrieved June 18, 2014. 
  29. ^ Anthony Clark, The Gainesville Sun. “Fortune 500 company acquires startup.” September 18, 2010. Retrieved August 10, 2015.
  30. ^ Lynley, Matthew (October 13, 2010). "Qualcomm scoots into mobile software with iSkoot acquisition". VentureBeat. Retrieved June 6, 2014. 
  31. ^ Clarke, Peter (November 3, 2010). "Qualcomm has bought Sandbridge, says analyst". EE Times. Retrieved June 18, 2014. 
  32. ^ Tibken, Shara (January 5, 2011). "Qualcomm to Buy Atheros for $3.1 Billion". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved June 18, 2014. 
  33. ^ Hall, Dave (February 17, 2011). "Qualcomm acquires Windsor’s Sylectus". The Windsor Star. Retrieved June 6, 2014. 
  34. ^ Lin, Adela (May 26, 2011). "Cheng Uei Sells 50 million SolLink Shares to Qualcomm Global". Bloomberg. 
  35. ^ Clarke, Peter (June 10, 2011). "Qualcomm buys LiquidCell IP firm". EE Times. Retrieved June 5, 2014. 
  36. ^ Merritt, Rick (July 25, 2011). "Qualcomm buys gesture-recognition technology". EE Times. Retrieved June 5, 2014. 
  37. ^ Walton, Jarred (September 1, 2011). "Qualcomm Atheros Acquires Bigfoot Networking". AnAndTech. Retrieved June 6, 2014. 
  38. ^ Clarke, Peter (September 7, 2011). "Qualcomm buys IDT video IP, design teams". EE Times. Retrieved June 6, 2014. 
  39. ^ "Qualcomm acquires wireless EV charging firm". EE Times. November 8, 2011. Retrieved June 5, 2014. 
  40. ^ Clarke, Peter (January 2012). "Qualcomm buys MEMS display startup, reportedly for $175 M". EE Times. Retrieved June 5, 2014. 
  41. ^ McGrath, Dylan (June 18, 2012). "Qualcom buys power IC vendor Summit Micro". EE Times. Retrieved June 6, 2014. 
  42. ^ Shah, Agam (August 23, 2012). "Qualcomm Buys 'small Cell' Provider DesignArt Networks". IDG News Service. Retrieved June 6, 2014. 
  43. ^ McGrath, Dylan. "Qualcomm buys Israeli ultrasound technology firm". EE Times. Retrieved June 18, 2014. 
  44. ^ Roettgers, Janko (August 21, 2013). "Orb Networks shuts down after being acquired by Qualcomm in May". GigaOm. Retrieved June 6, 2014. 
  45. ^ Osborne, Charlie. "Qualcomm to acquire high-speed chipmaker Wilocity: report". ZDNet. Retrieved June 6, 2014. 
  46. ^ Lawson, Stephen (January 23, 2014). "Qualcomm buys Palm, iPaq patents from HP". Infoworld (IDG News Service). Retrieved June 6, 2014. 
  47. ^ "Qualcomm purchases PALM patents from HP". Associated Press. January 24, 2014. Retrieved June 6, 2014. 
  48. ^ Reedy, Sarah (June 24, 2014). "Qualcomm Acquires Black Sand Technologies". Light Reading. Retrieved June 25, 2014. 
  49. ^ Calnan, Christopher (June 25, 2014). "Austin semiconductor company bought by tech giant Qualcomm". Austin Business Journal. 
  50. ^ Boyd, Terry. "Breaking: Qualcomm acquires Stonestreet One, Louisville-based Bluetooth tech innovator". Insider Louisville. 
  51. ^ "Multilingual Patent Search, Patent Ranking". Retrieved 2012-11-25. 
  52. ^ Rick Merritt, EE Times. "Qualcomm will give Web apps a boost ." June 3, 2011. Retrieved June 3, 2011.
  53. ^ "India costs Qualcomm $12 bn". Retrieved 2012-11-25. 
  54. ^ [7] Archived October 4, 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  55. ^ Judge Brewster Benchslaps Qualcomm Lawyers, Wall Street Journal Law Blog, 8 August 2007.
  56. ^ L’Affaire Qualcomm: Judge Sanctions Six Lawyers, Wall Street Journal Law Blog, 8 January 2008.
  57. ^ Song, Jung-a (July 23, 2009). "Qualcomm in record S Korea antitrust fine". Financial Times. Retrieved 29 March 2014. 
  58. ^ Crothers, Brook. "Qualcomm, Broadcom reach $891 million settlement". CNET. Retrieved 2 April 2013. 
  59. ^ Freeman, Mike (February 5, 2012). "Qualcomm not talking about bribery probe".  
  60. ^ KEVIN, YAO (Feb 19, 2014). "China accuses Qualcomm of overcharging, abusing dominance". Reuters. Retrieved 29 March 2014. 
  61. ^ China Will Pay Most for Qualcomm Fine (Feb. 2015), Bloomberg View
  62. ^ "European Commission - PRESS RELEASES - Press release - Antitrust: Commission opens two formal investigations against chipset supplier Qualcomm". Retrieved October 2, 2015. 
  63. ^ Moody, Glyn (July 16, 2015). "European Commission opens antitrust investigations against Qualcomm—again". Ars Technica. Retrieved July 16, 2015. 
  64. ^ Qualcomm issues Nokia licensing warning, Wireless Watch, 25 April 2006.
  65. ^ Gow, David (October 1, 2007). "European commission launches inquiry into US chip-maker".  
  66. ^ Young, Brett. "Nokia to make $2.29 billion payment to Qualcomm". Reuters. Retrieved 2 April 2013. 
  67. ^ Hill, Jim (2012-11-19). "Qualcomm Halo: wireless charging for your EV goes live (Wired UK)". Retrieved 2012-11-25. 
  68. ^ "Challenge Bibendum - Renault, Qualcomm Join Forces for Wireless EV Charging". 2012-07-27. Retrieved 2012-11-25. 
  69. ^ Czyzewski, Andrew. "Europe's biggest wireless charging trial begins in London | In-depth". The Engineer. Retrieved 2012-11-25. 
  70. ^ "Our research stories - The University of Auckland". 2011-11-01. Retrieved 2012-11-25. 
  71. ^ "Qualcomm acquires HaloIPT team and its wireless charging technology". Green Car Congress. 2011-11-08. Retrieved 2012-11-25. 
  72. ^ "QCT and Semiconductor Operations | Qualcomm". Retrieved 2012-11-25. 
  73. ^ Qualcomm PureVoice is acknowledged in QQ2008's installation splash screen and in its license.txt
  74. ^ "Raptor| Data Transfer | Streaming Media". Qualcomm. 2012-10-01. Retrieved 2012-11-25. 
  75. ^ "Welcome to Eudora®!". Retrieved 2012-11-25. 
  76. ^ "Penelope - MozillaWiki". 2010-09-11. Retrieved 2012-11-25. 
  77. ^ "Eudora OSE". Retrieved October 2, 2015. 
  78. ^ [8] Qualcomm Internet Services website
  79. ^ a b [9] Reuters Company Overview, Qualcomm Incorporated
  80. ^ a b [10] QChat website
  81. ^ [11] Press Release: Sprint Nextel Teams With QUALCOMM and Lucent Technologies to Extend Industry-Leading Push-To-Talk Services with QUALCOMM'S QChat Solution, October 16, 2006
  82. ^ [12] Press Release: Sprint Customers in 40+ Markets Can Soon Get Nextel Direct Connect(R) Plus Sprint Mobile Broadband on 4 New Phones, June 12, 2008.


See also

Supported models included:[82]

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.

QChat is able to inter-operate with iDEN push-to-talk handsets on the Nextel National Network.[81]

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 and Sprint

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.[80]

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).

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 Working

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, 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.[80]

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 is a Push-to-Talk (PTT) technology. The QChat software application was developed by Qualcomm Internet Services (QIS) [78] a division of Qualcomm and part of the Qualcomm Wireless and Internet group.[79] QIS offers a set of software products and content enablement services to support and accelerate the growth of the wireless data market.[79]



  • QPST (Qualcomm Product Support Tool), QXDM (Qualcomm eXtensible Diagnostic Monitor) — official tool for management (QPST) and diagnostic (QXDM) Qualcomm based devices.

Management & Diagnostic tool

  • Operating system - BREW (Binary Runtime Environment for Wireless) is a proprietary cell phone application platform. BREW is designed so that the platform rejects unsigned applications. In order to have an application signed, a developer must pay a testing fee to National Software Testing Labs (NSTL), which then can approve or deny the request. This allows carriers to maintain control over the applications that run on their customers' phones. BitPim is a popular open source program which can access the embedded filesystem on phones using Qualcomm MSMs via a cable or Bluetooth. It should be pointed out that signing systems are also used in Apple IOS, Java ME, and signing is often required by carriers and OEMs.
  • Speech codec - Qualcomm has developed an audio codec for speech called PureVoice,[72] which, besides use on mobile phones, was also licensed for use in the very popular Chinese instant messaging software Tencent QQ.[73]
  • FEC codec - After its acquisition of Fremont-based Digital Fountain in 2009, Qualcomm developed the latest generation of Raptor codes called RaptorQ.[74]
  • Eudora client - Qualcomm formerly developed and distributed Eudora, which it acquired in 1991 from its author Steve Dorner. Qualcomm ceased sales of Eudora on May 1, 2007.[75] Qualcomm committed to co-operate with Mozilla developers to develop a Eudora-like version of Thunderbird, called Project Penelope,[76] later rebranded Eudora OSE, that the Mozilla project declared dead on June 28, 2013, stating that Qualcomm has no plans to update or support it.[77]
  • Eudora servers - Qualcomm formerly developed and sold email servers for multiple platforms, including WorldMail for Windows and EIMS (Eudora Internet Mail Server) for Macintosh. Qualcomm no longer sells these products. Qualcomm continues to maintain and distribute the popular open-source Qpopper for Unix and Linux.


  • Tracking devices - 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.
  • Semiconductors - Qualcomm designs various ARM architecture CDMA and UMTS modem chipsets designated mobile station modem (MSM), baseband radio processors, System on a chips, and power processor chips. These chipsets are sold to mobile phone manufacturers such as Kyocera, HTC Corporation, Motorola, Sharp, Sanyo, LG, Nokia and Samsung for integration into CDMA and UMTS 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 summer of 2007, Qualcomm is among the top-ten semiconductor firms, after Intel, Texas Instruments, Samsung, and a few others.
  • Satellite phones - Qualcomm manufactures some of the handsets used on the Globalstar network.
  • MediaFLO - 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 - 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 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 that there are no new QChat handsets on the product development roadmap, but it will continue supporting its existing QChat subscribers.
  • Qualcomm Gobi - 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 was provide 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 CDMA network 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 licence 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. Future Gobi platforms will support LTE natively. Currently, some Gobi 3000 modules support LTE through their own extensions.
  • Mirasol displays - 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.
  • HALO - A standard for Wirelessly charging vehicles with relatively high efficiency[67] using Resonant inductive coupling.[68] created from more than 10 years of research at Auckland University[69][70][71]
Qualcomm dual-band mobile phone


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.

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.[66]

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.[65]

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.[64]

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.

Qualcomm's role in 3G

On July 16, 2015, the European Commission announced that it had opened two antitrust investigations into Qualcomm's behavior in the field of baseband chipsets for consumer devices.[62][63]

In 2014, China's anti-monopoly regulator announced that Qualcomm was suspected of overcharging and abusing its market position. In February 2015, China moved to fine Qualcomm a record $975 million for tactics the government claimed hurt consumers.[60][61]

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.[59]

In 2009, Qualcomm and Broadcom entered into a settlement and multi-year patent agreement, ending all litigation between the companies.[58]

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.[57]

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.[55][56]

In April 2006, a dispute between Reliance Communications and Qualcomm over royalty fees cost Qualcomm approximately $11.7b in market capitalization.[53] In July 2007, Reliance and Qualcomm decided to settle the matter and agreed to expand the use of CDMA technology in India.[54]

Legal issues

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 example.) 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.

Satellite phone network

In June 2011, Qualcomm announced that it would release a set of application programming interfaces geared to give Web-based applications deeper links into hardware.[52]

Today, the company is the leading patent holder in advanced 3G mobile technologies, including CDMA2000 1xEV-DO and its evolutions; WCDMA[51] 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.

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.

Mobile phone standards

Date announced/
publicly reported
Company Business Value References
November 1997 Now Software Calendar and scheduling software Not disclosed [8]
January 2000 SnapTrack Cell-phone tracking software $1 billion [9]
March 2001 FleetAdvisor Fleet management software Not disclosed [10]
September 2004 Iridigm Display Corporation Display technology $170 million [11]
September 2004 Spike Technologies Semiconductor design services $19 million [12]
October 2004 Trigenix Cell phone user interface tools and apps $36 million [13]
August 2005 Elata Mobile content software $57 million [14][15]
August 2005 Flarion Wireless Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplex Access $600 million [15][16]
January 2006 Barkana Wireless Inc. Radio frequency circuits $56 million [17]
August 2006 Qualphone IP-based Multimedia Subsystems (IMS) $18 million [18]
November 2006 nPhase machine-to-machine (M2M) software Not disclosed [19]
December 2006 Airgo Networks Inc. Wi-fi networking Not disclosed [20]
December 2006 Bluetooth assets of RFMD Bluetooth $39 million [21]
November 2007 Firethorn Holdings Mobile banking services $210 million [22]
December 2007 SoftMax Noise cancellation for mobile phones Not disclosed [23]
March 2008 Xiam Technologies Ltd Content-targeting software $32 million [24]
January 2009 AMD handset division Graphics and multimedia software $65 million [25]
February 2009 Digital Fountain IPTV and mobile video Not disclosed [26]
April 2010 Tapioca URL-linking Not disclosed [27]
September 2010 WiPower Wireless charging pads for mobile devices Not disclosed [28][29]
October 2010 iSkoot Software for social media feeds on mobile devices Not disclosed [30]
September 2010 Sandridge Fabless multicore processor designs Estimated $55 million [31]
January 2011 Atheros Wi-fi networking $3.1 billion [32]
February 2011 Sylectus Wireless technologies for fleet management Not disclosed [33]
May 2011 SolLink (50 million shares) Flat panel displays $40 million [34]
June 2011 Rapid Bridge Configurable semiconductors (LiquidCell) Not disclosed [35]
July 25, 2011 GestureTek (some assets) Gesture recognition software Not disclosed [36]
September 2011 Bigfoot Networking Networking Not disclosed [37]
September 2011 Integrated Device Technology (a division) Video IC design division $60 million [38]
November 2011 HaloIPT Wireless charging for electric vehicles Not disclosed [39]
December 2011 Pixtronix Inc. Fabless MEMS displays $175–$200 million [40]
June 2012 Summit Microelectronics Programmable power integrated circuits Not disclosed [41]
August 2012 DesignArt Networks Miniature Wi-Fi access points Not disclosed [42]
November 2012 EPOS Development Ltd (some assets) ultrasound technologies for device input Not disclosed [43]
May 2013 Orb Networks Streaming video software Not disclosed [44]
May 2014 Wilocity WiGig semiconductor products Estimated $300 million [45]
January 2014 HP Patents 2,400 patents related to Palm, iPaq and Bitfone Not disclosed [46][47]
June 2014 Black Sand Technologies Inc. Power amplifier technology for wireless devices Not disclosed [48][49]
September 2014 Stonestreet One LLC Bluetooth Protocol Stack provider Not disclosed [50]
October 2014 CSR plc. Bluetooth and WiFi for Automotive, Audio, and IoT $2.5 billion [6]


In July 2015, the company cut 4,700 jobs or about 15 percent of its 31,300 current workforce due to decline of sales order when consumers shift to cheaper smartphones. It hoped to reduce costs by about $1.4 billion, including cutting executive payment.[7]

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]

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


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