Qualcomm Hires Ex-Intel Mobile Head for Top Marketing Job

Qualcomm is putting Anand Chandrasekher, who left Intel in 2011 after 25 years with the company, in charge of its marketing and communications efforts.

The former head of Intel€™s mobility efforts will now be the top marketing official at Qualcomm, a chip maker whose ARM-based Snapdragon processors are found in smartphones and tablets and could expand into notebooks.

Anand Chandrasekher, a 25-year veteran at Intel who until last year was one of the company€™s senior vice presidents and general manager for the Ultra Mobility Group, is now the chief marketing officer at Qualcomm, the company announced Aug. 6. He will report to Steve Mollenkopf, Qualcomm€™s president and chief operating officer.

Mollenkopf said in a statement that Chandrasekher is €œwell-suited to help grow Qualcomm€™s communications and marketing efforts across the world and to amplify our consumer offerings to new audiences.€

Chandrasekher left Intel in March 2011 after leading the giant chip maker€™s efforts to expand into the booming mobile device space, particularly smartphones and tablets. The company is looking to make inroads into a space currently dominated by chips designed by ARM Holdings and made by the likes of Qualcomm, Samsung Electronics, Texas Instruments and Nvidia.

Chandrasekher played a key role in overseeing Intel€™s development of the low-power Atom chips, which initially targeted the netbook space but has since expanded into smartphones and tablets. The first Atom-based smartphones began hitting the market this year, with Lenovo, Orange and Lava International launching devices running on the Atom Z2460 Medfield chips.

For Qualcomm, Chandrasekher€™s hiring means the company gets a chip veteran at a time when it is looking to expand its reach within the mobile space. Just as Intel and, to a lesser extent, Advanced Micro Devices are making efforts to encroach on ARM€™s dominance in smartphones and tablets, Qualcomm and other ARM license holders see an opportunity to move their highly energy-efficient chips into such systems as notebooks and low-power servers. Qualcomm officials are looking to leverage their quad-core Snapdragon chips to take advantage of opportunities presented by the upcoming release of Microsoft€™s Windows 8 OS, which has been optimized for tablets and comes in a version€”Windows RT€”that runs on ARM€™s system-on-a-chip (SoC) designs.

Qualcomm executives have said the quad-core versions of its Snapdragon S4 chips will help OEMs create Windows 8 laptops that are thinner and lighter than Intel-based Ultrabooks and Apple€™s popular MacBook Air.

Qualcomm has seen its sales and profits continue to grow in recent quarters€”the company said last month that profits in the second calendar quarter jumped 17 percent over the same period in 2011€”but officials also have talked about shipment shortfalls of its 28-nanometer processors used in smartphones due to capacity problems with manufacturing partner Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co.

Intel officials are pushing Ultrabooks, which are very thin and light notebooks that offer the traditional capabilities of laptops as well as features found in tablets, including instant-on and always-connected capabilities, long battery life and, in some models, touch-screens. Almost two dozen Ultrabooks based on Intel€™s 32nm Sandy Bridge chips are on the market, but Intel is expecting more than 100 designs running on the company€™s 22nm Ivy Bridge chips to launch this year, offering greater performance and energy efficiency at a lower price.