QUALCOMM (QCOM – NASDAQ) is a pure intellectual property play in the telecommunications equipment business, specifically for wireless gear based on “code division multiple access (CDMA)” technology, one of the key standards of wireless networks. QUALCOMM designs CDMA-based chips, and farms out their production to third parties, most notably IBM, Texas Instruments, and Taiwan Semiconductor.
The company has three core businesses. CDMA Technologies designs and markets CDMA chip-sets and software for wireless voice and data communications. Technology Licensing collects one-time license fees and royalty payments on CDMA wireless handsets. Wireless and Internet has three sub-segments: Internet Services, Wireless Business Solutions and Digital Media.
CDMA and its progeny, wideband CDMA (or WCDMA), are expected to gain share from rival technologies GSM and TDMA. The advent of 3rd generation phones is expected to heavily favor CDMA for its properties that will drive down the cost of communications. The industry views India and China as markets of significant opportunity, and CDMA/WCDMA have already made substantial inroads there.
QUALCOMM offers health benefits for the domestic partners of its gay and lesbian employees and has a written policy barring discrimination based on sexual orientation. The company won the 2002 Secretary of Labor’s Opportunity Award in recognition of the company’s efforts to develop and maintain an “exceptional” equal employment opportunity program. The company was included in Fortune magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” in 2004.