Qualcomm's CEO, Steve Mollenkopf, recently sat down for an interview where he discussed the way that the company figures out how to invest its development resources and what avenues to pursue, which essentially boils down to enhancing and creating fundamental technologies that can take many forms in the future. Mollenkopf joined up with Qualcomm back in 1995 as an engineer on the ground floor, and has been able to observe the company's activities and philosophies firsthand as he made his way to the top. According to Mollenkopf, the company likes to bet big on formative technologies, and that strategy has served it extremely well thus far, leaving its work responsible for most of the modern technologies that define the current internet-driven era.
Mollenkopf talked about the company's past, and how betting big on mobile computing and data transfer helped to enable the smartphone era, but the focus was definitely on the future. He noted that the company's current technologies all had massive applications in fields like AI, IoT, autonomous cars, and advanced networking. The Snapdragon 835 mobile chip, boasting onboard machine learning abilities and capable of data transfer speeds upwards of a gigabit, is a prime example of Qualcomm's future-looking bets at work. Qualcomm also has a hand in formative 5G technologies, with the company researching new ways to achieve high-capacity, low-latency data transfer on an increasingly massive scale. Naturally, this would tie nicely into all of the other fields; low-power mobile devices lending users the power of supercomputers thanks to onboard machine learning and cloud computing capabilities is just one near-future outcome of Qualcomm's work.
Speaking on the past and how the company works, Mollenkopf noted that Qualcomm's main avenue to profit is not predicting exactly where technology will go, but rather casting a wider net and looking at basic technological ideas and how they can be implemented for the widest possible glut of use cases. This ends up bringing Qualcomm a very wide audience of clients, buyers, and patent licensees. This approach has served the company well and will likely continue to do so well into the future, though it can sometimes backfire or cause trouble, as seen in the company's current quarrel with Apple.