Qualcomm 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
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
Mobile phone standards
Satellite phone network
5 Legal issues
5.1 Role in 3G
6.1.1 Management & Diagnostic tool
7.1.2 Sprint agreement
8 QuadRooter Security Issues
9 See also
11 Further reading
12 External links
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 Izak
Parviz Nazarian, Younes 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.
Qualcomm began the design of the first CDMA-based cellular
base station, based on calculations derived from the CDMA-based
OmniTRACS satellite system. This work began as a study contract from
AirTouch which had a shortage of cellular capacity in Los Angeles. Two
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
CDMA and LTE cellular standards.
The following year,
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.
Qualcomm paid $18 million for the naming rights to the Jack
Murphy Stadium in San Diego, renaming it to
Qualcomm Stadium. The
naming rights expired in June 2017.
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. Mollenkopf's appointment
as CEO was announced on December 13, 2013 and took effect on March 4,
2014. He succeeded Paul E. Jacobs, who remains executive chairman.
CFO Bill Keitel retired and was replaced by
Applied Materials CFO
George Davis on March 11, 2013.
Vista Equity Partners took over the Omnitracs business from Qualcomm
Incorporated in November 2013.
In October 2014,
Qualcomm wrapped up a deal for chip maker CSR for a
fee of $2.5 billion, beating its biggest rival Microchip
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.
From 2012 to 2014,
Qualcomm saw substantial revenue and profit growth
as its Snapdragon System-on-Chip took market share from other
competitors such as Texas Instruments'
OMAP and Nvidia's
become the de facto standard for Android smartphones, and for a while
Qualcomm's market capitalization surpassed that of Intel. However,
surprised by the release of the 64-bit
Apple A7 in September 2013,
Qualcomm had to quickly come up with its own competing 64-bit chip.
Qualcomm's resulting Snapdragon 810 and 808, which used generic ARM
cores instead of their own custom-designed cores, were not well
received due to overheating and performance problems, which led to
large customers like
Samsung opting to use their in-house Exynos
processor instead. Furthermore,
Qualcomm faced anti-trust
investigations in China, the European Union, and the United States.
These pressures caused a significant fall in Qualcomm's profits and
stock price in 2015.
In July 2015, the company cut 4,700 jobs or about 15% of its 31,300
workforce due to decline of sales. Executive management knew this was
coming, so they came up with a plan to retain its employees. However,
instead of paying reasonable salary, executive management used this
plan as a justification to give themselves a big payout first and then
lay off employees later.
In December 2015,
Qualcomm Inc. announced that it had rejected calls
to split in two, deciding to keep its chipmaking and patent licensing
In April 2017,
Qualcomm received approval from U.S. antitrust
regulators for the acquisition of NXP for $47 billion.
On June 20, 2017,
Qualcomm announced a strategic investment in Amionx,
a Carlsbad company that has developed technology to prevent fires and
explosions in lithium-ion batteries. The amount of the investment was
Qualcomm President Derek Aberle will join Amionx's
board of directors.
In November 2017,
Broadcom proposed an offer to buy Qualcomm. At
the time of the offer,
Qualcomm was attempting to close a pending
$38-billion acquisition of automotive chipmaker NXP
Semiconductors. In an official statement released on 13 November
Qualcomm Board of Directors unanimously rejected Broadcom's
purchase offer. In response to the rejected offer, Broadcom
released an official statement expressing the company "remains fully
committed to pursuing the deal". On December 4, Broadcom
nominated candidates for Qualcomm's board. In March 2018,
President Trump blocked the merger with an executive order that cited
national security concerns.
In 2018, BYD selected
Qualcomm for Integrated automotive infotainment
and digital cluster platform in upcoming EVs.
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 Jacobs after he "broached a
long-shot bid" for a buyout earlier that week.
Calendar and scheduling software
Cell-phone tracking software
Fleet management software
Iridigm Display Corporation
Semiconductor design services
Cell phone user interface tools and apps
Mobile content software
Wireless Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplex Access
Barkana Wireless Inc.
Radio frequency circuits
IP-based Multimedia Subsystems (IMS)
machine-to-machine (M2M) software
Airgo Networks Inc.
Bluetooth assets of RFMD
Mobile banking services
Noise cancellation for mobile phones
Xiam Technologies Ltd
AMD handset division
Graphics and multimedia software
IPTV and mobile video
Wireless charging pads for mobile devices
Software for social media feeds on mobile devices
Software defined LTE multicore processor designs
Estimated $55 million
Wireless technologies for fleet management
SolLink (50 million shares)
Flat panel displays
Configurable semiconductors (LiquidCell)
000000002011-07-25-0000July 25, 2011
GestureTek (some assets)
Gesture recognition software
Integrated Device Technology (a division)
Video IC design division
Wireless charging for electric vehicles
Fabless MEMS displays
Programmable power integrated circuits
Miniature Wi-Fi access points
EPOS Development Ltd (some assets)
ultrasound technologies for device input
Streaming video software
WiGig semiconductor products
Estimated $300 million
2,400 patents related to Palm, iPaq and Bitfone
Black Sand Technologies Inc.
Power amplifier technology for wireless devices
Stonestreet One LLC
Bluetooth Protocol Stack provider
xDSL transceiver chipsets, network processors
Bluetooth and WiFi for Automotive, Audio, and IoT
NXP Semiconductors N.V.
Machine Learning & Deep Learning
Mobile phone standards
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
EV-DO and its evolutions; WCDMA
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 would release a set of
application programming interfaces geared to give Web-based
applications deeper links into hardware.
Satellite phone network
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 example.) Some of the
Globalstar hardware is manufactured by Qualcomm. Like other satellite
Globalstar went bankrupt in 1999, only to be bought up
by a group of investors who are currently running the system.
In April 2006, a dispute between
Reliance Communications and Qualcomm
over royalty fees cost
Qualcomm approximately $11.7b in market
capitalization. In July 2007, Reliance and
Qualcomm decided to
settle the matter and agreed to expand the use of
CDMA technology in
In June 2007, the
U.S. International Trade Commission
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
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.
Broadcom entered into a settlement and
multi-year patent agreement, ending all litigation between the
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.
In 2014, China's anti-monopoly regulator announced that
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.
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. On January 24, 2018
the Commission announced a €997 million fine for paying Qualcomms
key customer, Apple, to not use the chips of rivals. According to the
Commission, the fine represented 4.9 percent of Qualcomms turnover in
In July 2016 a group of women filed a class-action gender
discrimination lawsuit against Qualcomm, alleging that the firm
discriminated against women in the science, technology, engineering,
and mathematics areas - a class of 3,400 employees. The suit was
settled in August 2017. The firm agreed to pay $19.5 million. The
plaintiff's law firm said the company will also "institute significant
changes in its policies and practices to help eliminate gender
disparities and foster equal employment opportunity going
In January 2017, Apple announced a $1 billion lawsuit against Qualcomm
for overcharging chips and failing to pay $1 billion in
Qualcomm however rejected the accusations, calling
the claims "baseless". A week before the Apple lawsuit, Qualcomm
shares dropped as the FTC accused the company of excessive royalties
for technologies that are "essential to industry standards."
Qualcomm was sued by a group of shareholders in the wake of the
aforementioned FTC ruling and Apple lawsuit.
In March 2017, South Korea found out that
Qualcomm prevented Samsung
from selling their chips to other phone makers.
In January 2018, European Union hit
Qualcomm by a fine of €997
million ($1.2 billion) for violating antitrust laws in a series of
deals with Apple where US tech giant paid Apple to use its chips
exclusively in its smartphones and tablets. 
Role in 3G
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
Qualcomm to get what
Broadcom regarded fair terms for access
to the W-
Broadcom was soon joined by
others, and complaints were also filed in the European Commission.
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,
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 Chinese TDS
CDMA 3G technology was developed primarily to avoid
Qualcomm licensing fees, although
Qualcomm claims that the Chinese
technology still infringes on many
Qualcomm dual-band mobile phone
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
Motorola Mobility, Sharp, Sanyo, LG Electronics,
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
UMTS markets. As of summer of 2007,
Qualcomm is among the top-ten semiconductor firms, after Intel, Texas
Samsung and a few others.
Qualcomm VR 820 VR headset - anticipated in Q4 2016:
Qualcomm Kryo quad-core CPU
Qualcomm Adreno 530 GPU
1440×1440 resolution per eye
AMOLED panel that supports up to 70 Hz
Processors - In 2015
Qualcomm announced that it was going to enter the
enterprise server market, with its Centriq chipsets based on the
Falkor CPU. Development began in early 2016, with availability slated
for the same year.
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.
Satellite phones -
Qualcomm manufactures some of the handsets used on
Qualcomm is the inventor of the
MediaFLO system, based upon
OFDM, which transmits 12-15 television channels within 6 MHz of
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
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
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
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
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 license and produce their own
Gobi 3000 compliant modules with their own extensions.
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 - 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
HALO - A standard for Wirelessly charging vehicles with relatively
high efficiency using Resonant inductive coupling. created
from more than 10 years of research at Auckland
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 Laboratories (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
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, which, besides use on mobile phones, was also licensed
for use in the very popular Chinese instant messaging software Tencent
FEC codec - After its acquisition of Fremont-based Digital Fountain in
Qualcomm developed the latest generation of
Raptor codes called
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.
Qualcomm committed to
Mozilla developers to develop a Eudora-like version of
Thunderbird, called Project Penelope, later rebranded Eudora OSE,
Mozilla project declared dead on June 28, 2013, stating that
Qualcomm has no plans to update or support it.
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
Qualcomm continues to maintain and distribute the
Qpopper for Unix and Linux.
Management & Diagnostic tool
Qualcomm Product Support Tool), QXDM (
Diagnostic Monitor) — official tool for management (QPST) and
Qualcomm based devices, SCDM (SmallCell Diagnostics
QChat is a push-to-talk (PTT) technology. The
application was developed by
Qualcomm Internet Services (QIS) a
Qualcomm and part of the
Qualcomm Wireless and Internet
group. QIS offers a set of software products and content
enablement services to support and accelerate the growth of the
wireless data market.
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
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
QChat uses standard
Voice over Internet Protocol
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 users on 3G wireless devices can connect to each other
worldwide, in either private or group calls, with the push of a
Voice over Internet Protocol
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
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.
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
EV-DO Revision A technology.
QChat is able to inter-operate with iDEN push-to-talk handsets on the
Nextel National Network.
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
QChat were available in more than 40 markets in June 2008.
Supported models included:
Sanyo Pro 200 (Discontinued)
Sanyo Pro 700 (Discontinued)
LG LX400 (Discontinued)
Motorola V950 (Discontinued)
Samsung Z400 (Discontinued)
Samsung Z700 (Discontinued)
QuadRooter Security Issues
In August 2016, the computer security company
Check Point found
several serious security problems on
Qualcomm chips. The bug
called Quadrooter has the ability to let hackers read all information
on Android phones. Even worse, hackers can have full access if the
affected user installs an app that exploits one of the
vulnerabilities. According to
Check Point this affects 900 million
Android users. Affected phones include some of the most recent Android
Check Point has published a scan tool for Android users and
BlackBerry is developing a repair tool.
Qualcomm has released fixes
for all four issues, three of which had been included in the Android
updates for the top
Google phones at the time of publication of the
San Diego portal
Qualcomm Snapdragon LTE modem
Integrated Digital Enhanced Network
Integrated Digital Enhanced Network (iDEN)
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