What makes him powerful: Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) remains a chipset powerhouse and the dominant force in the CDMA market, but Paul Jacobs has also pushed the company to expand beyond its traditional power base this year into emerging wireless opportunities.
For starters, Qualcomm was a key player in India's much-anticipated broadband wireless access spectrum auction. The company wound up paying $1 billion for spectrum in the 2.3 GHz band in four of India's 22 service areas, including the cities of Deli and Mumbai. The whole point of the bid, along with the venture Qualcomm set up with two Indian firms, is to promote TD-LTE technology in a market that is just awakening to the prospects of advanced mobile broadband. In that sense, Qualcomm's decision to enmesh itself in one of the world's largest potential mobile broadband markets is a masterstroke for Jacobs.
Qualcomm also has managed to make its Snapdragon processor a mainstay in many high-end Android phones. Further, Qualcomm has expanded in a number of directions, including with its BREW application service, a new augmented reality platform, an M2M venture, an effort in healthcare, and more.
It hasn't been entirely smooth sailing for Jacobs though. Jacobs admitted the company was disappointed with the adoption of its FLO TV network, which delivers mobile TV to the likes of Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) and AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T). In October the company confirmed that it will shut down the network, and possibly use it as a way for carriers to offload traffic.
Despite the collapse of FLO TV, Jacobs has pushed beyond the traditional realm of a semiconductor company, and has instead taken up the mantle of a wireless solutions company. --Phil