How Much Do You Know About Qualcomm?
Qualcomm is one of those companies that’s literally everywhere. If it’s not in your face, it’s in your hand, around your wrist, inside your tablet or allowing you to show your friends on the other side of the world a video chat of your flat. Qualcomm used to make phones. Now, as the biggest mobile chip maker in the world, it focuses solely on developing the breakthrough technologies that make mobile devices work - from modems and processors to Bluetooth and RF components.
If you were lucky enough to grow up in the 90s, and many of us at Vestle News were, you might’ve been lucky enough to have seen the Qualcomm name stamped on the black plastic brick with buttons and a stubby antenna we called a mobile phone back then. These were the days before all the other tech brands had their hands in the mobile game. But even though a Qualcomm-branded phone may be a thing of the past, we have Qualcomm to thank for inventing the technology that makes mobile access possible, even today.
Founded in 1985, Qualcomm is headquartered in San Diego, California. In 2018, they raked in $22.7 billion in revenue. Since their inception, they’ve invested $55.8 billion in research and development, leading to over 130,000 patents and patent applications around the world.
Qualcomm is the chicken and the egg
When it comes to mobile phone technology, Qualcomm basically answers the “chicken or the egg” question because it’s both. Before it gave us an actual mobile phone, the company invented the technology that necessitates one.
Try to wrap your head around that. Qualcomm’s CDMA technology is essentially WHY mobile phones work. Code Division Multiple Access, or CDMA, works like this: each call made on a mobile is tagged with a code that can only be identified and retrieved by the phone of the intended recipient. Once the code is in place, the call is divided into ten digital “pieces” that are then transmitted over all available mobile phone channels. While similar technologies existed at the time, what makes Qualcomm’s superior is the fact that it reduces the number of antennas while cramming twice the amount of calls into the airwaves.
CDMA is still used by many mobile service providers today, although in some parts of the world, it’s been replaced by another version you also may be familiar with - GSM, or Global System for Mobiles (not Qualcomm-developed). However, Qualcomm also pioneered 3G, 4G and is helping to usher in 5G technology for a future filled with an abundance of even more screens.
Qualcomm in the courtroom
In 2017, Vestle News learned that Apple had filed a $1 billion lawsuit against Qualcomm, alleging the company abused patents by overcharging for proprietary chips. Qualcomm rebuked the allegation, but a year later, the European Commission slammed Qualcomm with a €997 million fine for violating antitrust laws in its dealings with Apple. Still, the US’s International Trade Commission continued to support Qualcomm. What followed was a back-and-forth that kept the tech industry on the edge of its seats for months. Finally, in April of 2019, Apple and Qualcomm settled during the opening arguments of the case, and Apple agreed to pay an unspecified amount to Qualcomm, in addition to a six-year patent licensing agreement and another multi-year agreement between the two companies. You could say both companies left the courtroom as frenemies, since they’ll be working together for a long time.
Qualcomm and the numbers game
Qualcomm’s not just techie bait either. Qualcomm has gotten plenty of attention on the stock market as well since its IPO in 1991, when the expectation was to raise $50 million via 3.5 million shares priced at $14-16 apiece. In December of that year, Qualcomm sold 4 million shares on the NASDAQ at $16 per share. By October 2015, Qualcomm’s stock price had shot up 11,954%. Wow. If you’re wondering how that money would’ve looked, think of it this way: if you’d purchased 100 shares of Qualcomm back in 1991 for $1,600, it would be worth nearly $200,000 today.*
Even in 2019, Qualcomm is off to an impressive start, shooting up 80.7% between February and May, just weeks after its agreement in court with Apple. Sure, things got rocky for a while, but even NASDAQ commented on its resiliency by saying even after the courtroom drama, Qualcomm is “…same as it ever was, off and on the price chart. And for QCOM stock bulls, that spells opportunity.”**
Is it true? It’s up to you to decide.
In any event, now that its latest legal battle is history, we’ll have to wait and see how Qualcomm spend the rest of the year. 2019 is only half over and a lot can happen.
The bottom line
Watching the kind of market volatility a tech company undergoes is especially interesting nowadays, considering how technology-heavy our culture is. However, as fascinating as Qualcomm’s resilience has been over the years and regardless of whether it’ll keep appearing on Vestle news, there is no way of knowing how the company will perform in the future and where the share price will head to next. In fact, if you’re thinking of investing in Qualcomm on the financial market, it’s worth looking well beyond this collection of facts and acquainting yourself with its share of risks.
At Vestle, you can trade Qualcomm, as well as over 800 other instruments, as Contracts for Difference (CFDs), which means you invest in Qualcomm’s market performance in any direction, both up and down, without actually owning the underlying asset. Thus, market opportunities present themselves as speculations on volatility, and since this can be risky, it’s best to get as much education as you can. When you join Vestle, you’ll also receive free education, 1-on-1 training sessions, and outstanding client support.
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This article does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editors or management of EconoTimes.