Qualcomm Closing Subsidiary

Wireless knowledge offerings redundant.

Qualcomm Inc. is shuttering its Wireless Knowledge subsidiary.

Officials at the San Diego-based company confirmed last week that they are discontinuing the Wireless Knowledge product line, which includes wireless middleware that provides remote access to enterprise applications. "As we got more involved in enterprise applications at Qualcomm, we started to see redundancies between Wireless Knowledge and Qualcomm activities and realized it would be better if those were combined," said Norm Fjeldheim, CIO of Qualcomm, who took the helm at Wireless Knowledge in October.

The Rise and Fall of Wireless Knowledge

  • November 1998 Microsoft and Qualcomm found Wireless Knowledge
  • Spring and fall 2000 Wireless Knowledge shifts focus to the enterprise as Microsoft develops its MIS
  • November 2001 Microsoft sells its stake in Wireless Knowledge, making it a subsidiary of Qualcomm
  • February 2002 Microsoft says it will phase out MIS
  • October 2002 Qualcomm CIO takes the helm of Wireless Knowledge
  • Spring 2003 Qualcomm begins shuttering Wireless Knowledge
The Wireless Knowledge Workstyle Server Edition and Workstyle Desktop Edition product lines will be supported until years end or until the end of customers agreements, but only on existing licenses. "Ive been scrambling to try to figure out what to do," said Tommer Catlin, IS director at Webcor Technologies, a construction contracting company in San Mateo, Calif., that uses the Workstyle server to support several types of wireless devices. "Im, like, why? Your product is great! I just needed like five or seven more licenses."

Qualcomm officials said last week the company is working on a deal with middleware provider Extended Systems Inc. that would give ESI access to the Wireless Knowledge code and customer list. This would make it easier for interested customers to transition from the Wireless Knowledge server to ESIs XTNDConnect server, officials said. Qualcomm would continue to offer hosted services through its Wireless Business Solutions group and install software such as ESIs for customers that prefer a behind-the-firewall solution.

Wireless Knowledge was founded in 1998 by Qualcomm and Microsoft Corp. Qualcomms goal for the group was to encourage wireless data traffic on Code Division Multiple Access networks; its main product line was and remains CDMA chip sets. Microsoft wanted to encourage Pocket PC device sales.

The group initially struggled in the market as it tried to sell a less-than-stellar wireless platform to carriers. In 2000, the company shifted its focus to corporate enterprises and bolstered the technology, which supported both Microsofts Exchange and Lotus Development Corp.s Notes and Domino platforms. But as Wireless Knowledge was gaining a foothold with its Workstyle Server platform, Microsoft introduced its Airstream initiative in the form of a product that competed directly with Wireless Knowledges software. Microsoft launched MIS (Mobile Information 2001 Server) in the spring of 2001.

MIS, based in part on technology from Wireless Knowledge, offered access to Microsoft applications. In November 2001, Microsoft sold its stake in Wireless Knowledge to Qualcomm. Last year, Microsoft announced it would phase out MIS, with plans to put wireless capabilities directly into Exchange instead.

Consolidation and squelching are common in the enterprise wireless software industry. Late in 2001, Palm Inc. bought the assets of ThinAirApps Inc., with plans to use that companys ThinAirServer technology to create middleware that would support Palms line of Tungsten handheld computers. But in March, Palm nixed its plans for the middleware.