San Diego, California, United States
San Diego, California, United States 
|Revenue||US$22.73 billion (2018)|
|US$742 million (2018)|
|US$-4.86 billion (2018)|
|US$32.68 billion (2018)|
|US$928 million (2018)|
Number of employees
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 headquarter is located in San Diego, California, United States, and has 224 worldwide locations. The parent company is Qualcomm Incorporated (Qualcomm), which has a number of wholly owned subsidiaries: Qualcomm CDMA Technologies (QCT) sells all of Qualcomm's products and services (including chipsets); Qualcomm Technology Licensing (QTL) is responsible for the patent licensing business; and Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. (QTI) operates nearly all of Qualcomm's R&D activities.
Qualcomm was created on July 1, 1985 by seven former Linkabit employees led by Dr. 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.:310-311 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.:316 By 2001, 65 percent of Qualcomm's revenues originated from outside the United States with 35 percent coming from South Korea.:19
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 EUR997 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.
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.
For the fiscal year 2018, Qualcomm reported loss of US$4.86 billion, with an annual revenue of US$22.7 billion, an increase of 2% over the previous fiscal cycle. Qualcomm's shares traded between $51 and $75 per share, and its market capitalization at the end of fiscal 2018 was valued at US$105 billion. The company is ranked 133rd on the Fortune 500 list of the largest United States corporations by revenue.
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|Price per Share
|November 1997||Now Software||Calendar and scheduling software||Not disclosed|||
|January 2000||SnapTrack||Cell-phone tracking software||$1 billion|||
|March 2001||FleetAdvisor||Fleet management software||Not disclosed|||
|September 2004||Iridigm Display Corporation||Display technology||$170 million|||
|September 2004||Spike Technologies||Semiconductor design services||$19 million|||
|October 2004||Trigenix||Cell phone user interface tools and apps||$36 million|||
|August 2005||Elata||Mobile content software||$57 million|||
|August 2005||Flarion||Wireless Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplex Access||$600 million|||
|January 2006||Berkana Wireless Inc.||Radio frequency circuits||$56 million|||
|August 2006||Qualphone||IP-based Multimedia Subsystems (IMS)||$18 million|||
|November 2006||nPhase||machine-to-machine (M2M) software||Not disclosed|||
|December 2006||Airgo Networks Inc.||Wi-fi networking||Not disclosed|||
|December 2006||Bluetooth assets of RFMD||Bluetooth||$39 million|||
|November 2007||Firethorn Holdings||Mobile banking services||$210 million|||
|December 2007||SoftMax||Noise cancellation for mobile phones||Not disclosed|||
|March 2008||Xiam Technologies Ltd||Content-targeting software||$32 million|||
|January 2009||AMD handset division||Graphics and multimedia software||$65 million|||
|February 2009||Digital Fountain||IPTV and mobile video||Not disclosed|||
|April 2010||Tapioca||URL-linking||Not disclosed|||
|September 2010||WiPower||Wireless charging pads for mobile devices||Not disclosed|||
|October 2010||iSkoot||Software for social media feeds on mobile devices||Not disclosed|||
|September 2010||Sandbridge Technologies||Software defined LTE multicore processor designs||Estimated $55 million|||
|January 2011||Atheros||Wi-fi networking||$3.1 billion|||
|February 2011||Sylectus||Wireless technologies for fleet management||Not disclosed|||
|May 2011||SolLink (50 million shares)||Flat panel displays||$40 million|||
|June 2011||Rapid Bridge||Configurable semiconductors (LiquidCell)||Not disclosed|||
|July 25, 2011||GestureTek (some assets)||Gesture recognition software||Not disclosed|||
|September 2011||Bigfoot Networking||Networking||Not disclosed|||
|September 2011||Integrated Device Technology (a division)||Video IC design division||$60 million|||
|November 2011||HaloIPT||Wireless charging for electric vehicles||Not disclosed|||
|December 2011||Pixtronix Inc.||Fabless MEMS displays||$175-$200 million|||
|March 2012||Ubicom||Network Processors||Not disclosed|||
|June 2012||Summit Microelectronics||Programmable power integrated circuits||Not disclosed|||
|August 2012||DesignArt Networks||Miniature Wi-Fi access points||Not disclosed|||
|November 2012||EPOS Development Ltd (some assets)||ultrasound technologies for device input||Not disclosed|||
|May 2013||Orb Networks||Streaming video software||Not disclosed|||
|May 2014||Wilocity||WiGig semiconductor products||Estimated $300 million|||
|January 2014||HP Patents||2,400 patents related to Palm, iPaq and Bitfone||Not disclosed|||
|June 2014||Black Sand Technologies Inc.||Power amplifier technology for wireless devices||Not disclosed|||
|September 2014||Stonestreet One LLC||Bluetooth Protocol Stack provider||Not disclosed|||
|September 2015||Ikanos Inc||xDSL transceiver chipsets, network processors||$47 million|||
|October 2015||CSR plc.||Bluetooth and WiFi for Automotive, Audio, and IoT||$2.5 billion|||
|August 2017||Scyfer B.V.||Machine Learning & Deep Learning||Not disclosed|||
Today, the company is the leading patent holder in advanced 3G mobile technologies, including CDMA2000 1xEV-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.
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.
In January 2017, Apple announced a $1 billion lawsuit against Qualcomm for overcharging chips and failing to pay $1 billion in rebates. Qualcomm however rejected the accusations, calling the claims "baseless". A week before the Apple lawsuit, Qualcomm shares dropped as the Federal Trade Commission accused the company of demanding 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. On January 4, 2019, the FTC trial began before Judge Lucy Koh in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California.
On January 24, 2018, the European Commission announced a EUR997 million fine ($1.2 billion, 4.9% of 2017 turnover) against Qualcomm for violating antitrust laws, by means of its deals with Apple.
On January 14, 2019, Apple's COO Jeff Williams said that Apple wanted to use Qualcomm modems in the iPhone XS and XR but Qualcomm refused to sell them after Apple sued over its licensing practices, leading to Apple using Intel's modems instead.
On April 16, 2019, just as opening arguments had begun in the suit, the two companies settled. Internal documents disclosed during the opening arguments of this trial indicated that Apple considered Qualcomm's engineering the best and their cellular patent portfolio to be the strongest, further acknowledging that its collecting of patent licensing was "established and relatively transparent." However, Apple engaged in multiple avenues of attack to undermine the value of this portfolio such as attempting to reframe the value of Qualcomm's IP by anchoring its value against deals it secured for less valuable IP from other patent portfolios. Apple will pay an unspecified amount and enter into a six-year patent licensing agreement, and a multi-year agreement for Qualcomm to provide hardware to the company. Intel concurrently announced that it would no longer develop 5G modems for mobile devices, and later announced in July 2019 that it would sell the majority of its smartphone modem business to Apple for $1 billion.
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 India.
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.
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. This fine was reduced after the Korean supreme court overturned a lower court's opinion on Qualcomm's abuse of market position.
In 2009, the Japanese FTC signed a cease-and-desist order against Qualcomm's intellectual property licensing practices. In a rare full reversal by the commission, following 37 hearings across 9 years, the order was withdrawn in 2019 after finding that Qualcomm's practices did not violate anti-trust law.
In 2009, Qualcomm and Broadcom entered into a settlement and multi-year patent agreement, ending all litigation between the companies.
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 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.
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 forward."
In March 2017, South Korea found out that Qualcomm prevented Samsung from selling their chips to other phone makers.
On January 4, 2019, the US FTC trial against Qualcomm brought under Section 5 of the FTC act for anti-competitive behavior in the premium standalone modem market began before Judge Lucy Koh in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. The judge ruled against Qualcomm on May 22, 2019 in a sweeping decision which went beyond both the market and claims brought by the FTC including a renegotiation of all existing Qualcomm contracts. Following amicus briefs in support of Qualcomm from the US Department of Justice, the Pentagon, and the US Department of Energy, the ninth circuit appeals court granted a stay on the lower court's decision on August 22, 2019. The appeals court raised multiple questions regarding the appropriateness of the lower court's interpretation of the law and characterized the decision as at best "a trailblazing application of antitrust laws" and at worst an "improper excursion beyond the outer limits of the Sherman Act."
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.
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.
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.
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.
QChat is a push-to-talk (PTT) technology. The QChat software application was developed by Qualcomm Internet Services (QIS), a division of 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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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 before ending production of new QChat devices in November 2009.
Supported models included:
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 phones. 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 bug.