Paul Jacobs, former CEO of Qualcomm and son of the chipmaker's founder Irwin Jacobs, is starting a new company to pursue advanced wireless technologies, including IoT applications and 5G.
The company is called XCOM and will be based in San Diego. At this time, XCOM is not sharing a business plan, but the company is hiring engineers with expertise in communications systems, embedded software and wireless testing.
Like Qualcomm, XCOM will focus on wireless technologies for both licensed and unlicensed spectrum, according to its executives. The team plans to work on solutions that will deliver more computing power at the device level instead of sending data to the cloud for remote processing.
Jacobs is founding and funding XCOM along with other former Qualcomm executives, including former executive vice president of technology Matt Grob, who said when he left the company last month that he intends to "keep inventing." In fact he used the hashtag #keepinventing on Twitter, and now the same hashtag is on XCOM's homepage. Also joining XCOM is former Qualcomm president Derek Aberle, who left the company late last year.
Aberle told The San Diego Union-Tribune that he also continues to work with Jacobs on another project: the exploration of a possible bid to take Qualcomm private. Jacobs has been looking at a bid for several months, and is said to be talking to several potential funders. Qualcomm's leadership is against the idea, and Jacobs resigned from Qualcomm's board after he said he wanted to take the company private.
The bid to privatize Qualcomm could face a new obstacle if Qualcomm succeeds in its own bid to buy NXP. Qualcomm appears to finally have the wind at its back after almost two years of waiting for regulatory approval. This week, the U.S. Commerce Department agreed to lift its export ban on China's ZTE, and there is speculation that China will reciprocate by approving Qualcomm's bid for NXP. China's Ministry of Commerce is the last agency that needs to approve the deal.
If Qualcomm buys NXP, Jacobs would almost certainly have to borrow even more in order to take over the larger company. Analysts have said that even without NXP in the picture, the amount of debt Jacobs would need to raise could result in a highly leveraged company that would have to devote a large portion of its income to debt service.