Qualcomm (QCOM) said it promoted Steve Mollenkopf, its current president and chief operating officer, and a 20-year company veteran, to its chief executive slot to replace Dr. Paul Jacobs, who’s moving to the executive chairman’s post to focus on new technology development and long-term opportunities for the chip maker.

DH Kass, Senior Contributing Blogger

December 16, 2013

3 Min Read
Qualcomm to Promote Mollenkopf to CEO, Scuttling Microsoft Rumors

Qualcomm (QCOM) said it promoted Steve Mollenkopf, its current president and chief operating officer (COO), and a 20-year company veteran, to its chief executive slot to replace Dr. Paul Jacobs, who’s moving to the executive chairman’s post to focus on new technology development and long-term opportunities for the chip maker.

The executive transition was approved by Qualcomm’s board Dec. 12, with Mollenkopf and Jacobs slated to take on their new roles effective Marcy 4, 2014, following Qualcomm’s 2104 annual shareholders’ meeting. Mollenkopf, who will assume responsibilities for all Qualcomm lines of business and business units, will retain his president’s title and gains a seat on the company’s board.

Jacobs served as Qualcomm chief executive for nearly nine years.

Some curious timing accompanied Qualcomm’s ascension of Mollenkopf to its top job. The chip maker made the announcement only a few hours after Bloomberg reported Mollenkopf’s name had been added to Microsoft’s (MSFT) short list of candidates under serious consideration to replace Steve Ballmer as chief executive.

It’s impossible to say what’s the cart and what’s the horse here—and it’s too easy and unsubstantiated to suggest that Qualcomm caught wind of Microsoft’s interest in Mollenkopf and decided to formalize and go public with its plans for his promotion. Still, the timing of the two reports is coincidental and curious, although nothing more than that at day’s end.

Sherry Lansing, Qualcomm’s presiding director and Governance Committee chair, said in a statement that Mollenkopf’s promotion provides the chip maker with a “smooth transition to a proven executive,” while preserving “ongoing executive guidance and board-level leadership from Paul Jacobs.”

Lansing reserved high praise for Jacobs, saying his “innovations have helped define the smartphone world that we live in today. He has guided Qualcomm through extraordinary growth where the company’s market cap more than doubled, revenues more than quadrupled and GAAP EPS more than tripled during his tenure as CEO.”

Mollenkopf, in prior roles at Qualcomm, is credited with helping craft the company’s overall global strategy, driving technological innovation, strengthening its industry partnerships and posting record revenue growth. On his watch, Qualcomm bought Atheros for some $3.1 billion—its largest acquisition ever—in a move to grow beyond cellular.

“I look forward to working with our executive team and our employees in driving growth for our company and the entire mobile ecosystem as it transitions to 4G and beyond,” Mollenkopf said.

New 4G LTE 64-Bit Snapdragon Chipset

Speaking of 4G chipsets, on Dec. 9, Qualcomm, as expected, unwrapped its 64-bit capable Snapdragon 410 chip, moving into that segment along with Apple (APPL), which, in September introduced the first such chip in its iPhone 5S.

The new chipsets, which Qualcomm said are intended to offer a “comprehensive mobile device platform,” feature 4G LTE World Mode and 3G cellular connectivity baked in for all major modes and frequency bands across the globe and include support for Dual and Triple SIM.

Qualcomm made no secret that the chip is its key to the low-end smartphone market, particularly in China.

“We are excited to bring 4G LTE to highly affordable smartphones at a sub $150 price point with the introduction of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 processor,” said Jeff Lorbeck, Qualcomm China senior vice president and COO.

Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 410 chip is manufactured using 28nm process technology and features the Adreno 306 GPU enabling 1080p video playback and 13MP camera support. The processor includes Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, FM and NFC functionality, and support all major navigation and location technology, including China’s new BeiDou.

The chipset works with Android, Windows Phone and Firefox operating systems.

Qualcomm said it will make available Reference Design versions of the processor to speed development time and reduce OEM R&D expenditures. The vendor said it will begin sampling the chip in the first half of 2014 and expects it to be incorporated into devices in the second half of the year.

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About the Author(s)

DH Kass

Senior Contributing Blogger, The VAR Guy

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