Qualcomm’s Cristiano Amon

Cristiano Amon is a FierceWireless Rising Star. (Image: Qualcomm, Ulza/iStock)

Qualcomm president Cristiano Amon has been with the mobile chipmaker through some very good times and some not-so-good times. Now, he is preparing to oversee what could be the biggest changes in the company’s history.

The wireless industry is set to launch next-generation technology that could extend mobile platforms far beyond the smartphone, and Qualcomm may be poised to close the biggest tech deal in history with its $44 billion purchase of automotive chipmaker NXP.

“When you connect the car, you have completely new business models,” said Amon, adding that even without NXP, Qualcomm has built an automotive business that has a $4 billion backlog.

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“We’re pleased to see that we’ll be able to diversify our business and generate growth beyond mobile, still being able to leverage mobile technology,” Amon said. “Smartphone platforms become the foundation of the Internet of Things. The smartphone is now defining the user experience.”

The smartphone itself remains the primary destination for Qualcomm’s hardware, and Amon believes 5G will jumpstart the slowing market for mobile phones.

“Once we transition the market to 5G, we'll be able to see, back in the phone business, double-digit growth rates,” he said.

Amon said the three things he is most proud of at Qualcomm are the company’s 5G progress, the business Qualcomm has built in China over the last seven years, and the use of mobile technology to build new businesses.

“We like the trends, we like the assets that we have, and we think the best part of Qualcomm is still ahead of us,” he said.

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Qualcomm’s Cristiano Amon