Qualcomm names Steve Mollenkopf as CEO, Paul Jacobs to guide

Wireless chip vendor Qualcomm announced the management transition of Steve Mollenkopf to chief executive officer and Paul E Jacobs to executive chairman.

Steve Mollenkopf, who had an invitation from Microsoft to join the IT giant as CEO before it selected Satya Nadella replacing Steve Ballmer, will assume overall responsibility for Qualcomm, including all lines of business and all functional groups in the company.

Also read: Qualcomm promotes Steve Mollenkopf as new CEO, dashing hopes of Microsoft

Like Microsoft, Qualcomm also opted for an internal candidate for the CEO job. But Microsoft evaluated several outside candidates including Ericsson CEO but could not rope in one.

After Satya Nadella took over, Microsoft announced several key changes in the top management to drive business and strategies. Qualcomm does not face such significant challenges due to its corporate culture and professional goals.

The new Qualcomm CEO will be guided by Jacobs, who will take care the development of new technology and Qualcomm’s long-term opportunities.

Also read: Qualcomm leads cellular processor market with 64% share in 2013, ahead of MediaTek and Intel

Qualcomm challenges

Qualcomm is facing huge opportunities in the smartphone and 4G world. However, it needs to settle the government agency probe in China amicably to ensure. Its challenge from Intel in the wireless chip space will not be  significant though Intel announced its ambitious tablet and smartphone plans recently.

Analyst firm IHS in a report in January noted that Samsung, the maker of tablet chips for Apple iPad, the industry’s best-selling tablet, is doing well. The important player is Qualcomm, the chief supplier of baseband chips for smartphones, which is betting on the tablet space with semiconductors that provide cellular functionality to complement the built-in Wi-Fi feature of tablets.

For Intel, the highest-profile new competitor, its tablet chips will find their way into a broad array of Android-based tablets. Intel Bay Trail processors could be in entry-level, 7- to 8-inch Android tablets by the first quarter, while later generations of chips—such as Cherry Trail and Willow Trail—are planned for future implementation down the road, IHS said.

Qualcomm Steve Mollenkopf and Paul E Jacobs

Qualcomm Opportunities

Steve Mollenkopf, CEO of Qualcomm, said: “I see numerous opportunities in the coming years for both Qualcomm and the greater industry. Since our founding more than 28 years ago, Qualcomm has been an enabler of the mobile ecosystem and with the support and collaboration of our partners, Qualcomm will continue to push the boundaries of mobile technology.”

IHS in a December 3, 2013 note said said Qualcomm’s success in wireless drives it to the top of the semiconductor industry. The U.S. company is set to attain 31.6 percent semiconductor growth in 2013, causing it to gain1.2 percentage points of share and take 5.5 percent of total semiconductor market revenue. No. 3-ranked Qualcomm’s growth in 2013 will allow it to narrow its market share gap with industry leaders Intel and Samsung.

During Jacobs’ tenure as CEO, Qualcomm’s market cap more than doubled, revenues more than quadrupled and GAAP EPS more than tripled.

On 30 January, Qualcomm said its first quarter revenue rose 10 percent to $6.62 billion, while net income decreased 2 percent to $1.88 billion.

Also read: Qualcomm Q1 revenue up 10%, net income dips 2%

In 2005 when Jacobs took the title of CEO, Qualcomm was a global Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA)-centric company. Today, Qualcomm is a global wireless company that is driving the mobile ecosystem.

Smartphone growth will slow down in coming years. This will be one of the major challenges for chip vendors. After increasing 39 percent last year, smartphone shipments are expected to expand by 19 percent in 2014, and growth is expected to continue to slow, falling to just 6 percent in 2018, according to market research firm IDC.

Mollenkopf has been with Qualcomm for more than 20 years in a variety of leadership positions where he has helped to define and implement the company’s strategy and vision. During his tenure, Qualcomm has become a leader in a range of mobile technologies, including computing, graphics, multimedia chipsets, and 3G and 4G modems.

Steve Mollenkop on Qualcomm innovation

Steve Mollenkopf, the new CEO of Qualcomm, said on Tuesday that the mobile chipmaker is developing technologies that will drive continued demand for smartphones even as others worry that the smartphone market’s best days are behind it.

Mollenkopf pointed to wireless connectivity, cameras, sensors and audio as key smartphone technologies Qualcomm is improving and which he said will help drive demand, Reuters reported.

“We’re working on technologies that emulate how the brain processes information. Ultimately, I think you get to the point where the phone becomes an extension of all of your senses,” Mollenkopf said.

Baburajan K
[email protected]