Qualcomm president Derek Aberle to step down

His departure comes amid multiple ongoing legal battles involving Qualcomm's licensing business
Written by Stephanie Condon, Senior Writer

Qualcomm president Derek Aberle is leaving the company on Dec. 31, Qualcomm announced.

His departure comes amid multiple legal battles involving Qualcomm Technology Licensing (QTL), Qualcomm's licensing division, which Aberle led for about a decade.

In a statement, Qualcomm CEO Steve Mollenkopf praised Aberle's "vision, creativity, dedication, and judgment."

"Under his talented leadership, the QTL division has significantly grown in both revenues and profits, established its 4G licensing program and enabled significant competition across the industry," he said. "I believe the company is well positioned to build on Derek's record of success and continue to deliver solid results in the future."

Aberle joined Qualcomm in 2000 and led the QTL division starting in 2008. QTL accounts for most of Qualcomm's earnings, though its other business segment QCT (Qualcomm CDA Technologies) accounts for most of its revenue.

The QTL business has been under pressure due to an epic, ongoing legal dispute with Apple. In May, Qualcomm sued multiple Apple iPhone and iPad manufacturers for breaching their license agreements. Qualcomm alleges that Apple "orchestrated the actions of each defendant."

The legal saga between Apple and Qualcomm started in January, when Apple filed a lawsuit that accused the semiconductor giant of overcharging for chips and withholding nearly $1 billion in contractual rebate payments.

Additionally, earlier this year the US Federal Trade Commission sued Qualcomm over its licensing practices.

While these disputes persist, Aberle has helped resolved others, such as an antitrust suit from Chinese regulators.

With Aberle stepping down, EVP and QTL president Alex Rogers will report directly to Mollenkopf as part of the transition, Qualcomm said.

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