Qualcomm COO slams competition; talks future for PCs, Windows 8

Summary:Qualcomm's chief operating officer slams the competition, boasting that its integrated mobile architectures are unmatched.

SAN FRANCISCO -- Qualcomm's president and chief operating officer Steve Mollenkopf didn't mince words when asked about industry competition and where the chipmaker stacks up.

Mollenkopf, speaking at the 2013 Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference, remarked that Qualcomm is in a unique position at the top of the wireless technology industry being that it serves both smartphones and tablets.

"If you look at the landscape of LTE, we're on our third-generation," Mollenkopf said. "Most people are trying to figure out how to produce a device that would compete with our first-generation."

"If you look at the landscape of LTE, we're on our third-generation," Mollenkopf said. "Most people are trying to figure out how to produce a device that would compete with our first-generation."

To compete with Qualcomm's third-generation platform, Mollenkopf continued, competitors would have to "bring up not only LTE for the first time, but also advance it to where we are."

"I don't think anything's changed in where we see ourselves in a leadership position," Mollenkopf boasted.

Touting that Qualcomm has "led the ARM CPU race for several generations," Mollenkopf discussed that the integrated solution of mobile CPUs and GPUs is essential to both the future of Qualcomm's success as well as anyone else in the wireless industry.

"Most people that bet against integration in this business are not in this business anymore," Mollenkopf remarked, adding that it's a "misconception" that you can't drive technology leadership on an area and innovate at the same time.

"We just don't believe that integration is inconsistent with technology leadership," Mollenkopf argued. "We've heard that for many many years by a number of competitors, and not all of them are still around."

A good deal of this innovation, he suggested, comes from the need of connecting "all of these ecosystems" of smartphones, tablets and "whatever becomes of the clamshell PC."

"The great thing about the industry right now is there's a lot of innovation around form factor," Mollenkopf said. "That results in an environment great for someone coming at it from mobile."

"The great thing about the industry right now is there's a lot of innovation around form factor," Mollenkopf said. "That results in an environment great for someone coming at it from mobile."

Diving deeper on innovation, Mollenkopf touched on Windows 8, admitting it will take "awhile for it to ramp," but that Qualcomm is trying to "be very transparent" about this "opportunity for us."

To summarize, Mollenkopf explained, Qualcomm is "long-term bullish and "near-term cautious" on Windows 8.

From a long-term view, Mollenkopf said that if you look at Windows 8 from a programming model, it has to embrace touch and cloud-based services, forcing things to be more connected. He continued to say that almost every application made will use those things that are available to us on Windows RT.

"We think there will be a break in the application environment, and the future of Windows will be something we can participate in fully," Mollenkopf predicted.

But for the near-term, Mollenkopf forecasted that it will "be awhile before the consumer embraces such a new computing environment," predicting Microsoft and others will have to experiment with more form factors.

Nevertheless, Mollenkopf was optimistic that Microsoft will be able to do that.

More coverage from the 2013 Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference:

Topics: Tech Industry, Hardware, Mobility, Processors, Smartphones

About

Rachel King is a staff writer for CBS Interactive based in San Francisco, covering business and enterprise technology for ZDNet, CNET and SmartPlanet. She has previously worked for The Business Insider, FastCompany.com, CNN's San Francisco bureau and the U.S. Department of State. Rachel has also written for MainStreet.com, Irish Americ... Full Bio

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