Brooklyn, N.Y . — In a move aimed at strengthening its mobile patent portfolio, Qualcomm Inc. has acquired a massive amount of IP from Hewlett-Packard Co. that includes patents from Palm, iPaq, and Bitfone involving operating system technologies.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The San Diego-based chip maker said that the purchased portfolio consists of nearly 1,400 and 1,000 granted patents and pending patent applications from the US and other countries, respectively.
Qualcomm's technology licensing (QTL) business is strong. It already has more than 250 royalty-bearing CDMA-based licensees; 175 are licenses for WCDMA-TD-SCDMA, and over 90 single-mode OFDM/OFDMA licensees. QTL accounted for approximately 30% of Qualcomm's sales of $24.9 billion in fiscal 2013 ended October, but is the dominant contributor to its bottom line.
Still, Qualcomm generates a majority of its revenue from selling baseband chipsets. It has been a major chipset provider to the smartphone sector, supplying Apple with chips for its iPhone, and Samsung and Nokia with its popular Snapdragon processor platform for Android devices.
During its analysts day in New York last November, Qualcomm's previous chief executive Paul Jacobs, cited smartphones as one of the company's key sectors driving its chipset and licensing businesses, according to a Seeking Alpha transcript. Jacobs said that Qualcomm estimates a 20% compound annual growth rate of smartphones from 2012 through 2017.
In addition, Qualcomm's recently appointed chief executive, Steve Mollenkopf, pointed out that while Qualcomm is well-positioned with the leading smartphone providers, its technology is spread across multiple operating systems, which is "an important component we think moving forward," according to the transcript. Mollenkopf was promoted from chief operating officer to chief executive in December 2013.
For Hewlett Packard, the struggling server manufacturer didn't have much success with TouchPad tablets and other products that ran webOS, the operating system it acquired when it bought Palm Inc. in 2010. Consequently, it discontinued production of webOS-based products less than a year after the $1.2 billion acquisition.
— Ismini Scouras is a freelance writer for EE Times.