Qualcomm Incorporated: communications company.

Produces hardware such as wireless phones, CDMA chipsets, and some new-fangled wireless phone called the pdQ that runs PalmOS.

Produces software such as Eudora.

QUALCOMM sold its consumer wireless product line to Kyocera in 2000, but at this writing it still markets a line of GlobalStar satellite phones.

Not quite the Incredible Shrinking Company, but sometimes you have to laugh...

They sold off the unprofitable wireless infrastructure (base station) division to Ericsson a few years back. The profitable subscriber division (phones, pdQ) was sold to Kyocera--people who buy chips from you get kinda cranky if you're also using the same chips in phones that compete with theirs. The division that makes those chips is set to be spun off this year.

Qualcomm still has an interest in the floundering Globalstar partnership, though that hasn't panned out like everyone hoped it would. Apparently, it's become cheap enough to fly towers and prefab base station buildings onto jungle hills with helicopters, so the demand for satellite phones (at roughly US$3/minute airtime rates) didn't meet projections. But there's hope yet...

Qualcomm also created and operates the highly-profitable OmniTracs, a satellite data communication system for the trucking industry. Look at a semi truck sometime... if you see a white dome about a foot across on the roof, that's an Omni antenna. There's also a version called OmniExpress that uses the SprintPCS terrestrial network instead of geosynchronous satellites.

Eudora is still around, though Steve Dorner has built a more traditional home office, and no longer works out of the bomb shelter under his Urbana home.

There is also a partnership with Ford called Wingcast, which aims to do wonderful mobile voice and data things in cars. WirelessKnowledge is involved with mobile business data applications, partnered with the Empire.

The City of San Diego found themselves $18 million short on their renovation project for Jack Murphy Stadium, with the NFL threatening to move the next year's Super Bowl to Pasadena if the new seating wasn't completed on time. In walked Irwin with the corporate checkbook, asking merely for naming rights on the stadium. I figure, $18 mil plus miscellaneous expenses is pretty cheap for the number of times people would say "Qualcomm Stadium" during the game, let alone in the future. At least it cut down on the number of people asking me who the heck I worked for...

It's a neat place to work... for a kid fresh out of college, it kind of boggled the mind to see people listed in the company directory that you'd seen in textbooks and papers before. After five years, the luster hasn't worn off much. (Of course, the marvelous San Diego climate is very easy on finishes, unlike the cold and the road salt of the Midwest... I'd better stop now before I risk being downvoted for gloating ;-) )

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