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July 14, 2022
Private 5G: Opportunity or Challenge for Telcos?

May 12, 2022
Qualcomm Extends 5G Beyond Phones

April 7, 2022
AT&T Demonstrates Network Disaster Recovery Preparedness

March 8, 2022
CBRS Enables New Opportunities for Rural Broadband

March 4, 2022
The Computerization of 5G Networks

January 6, 2022
Verizon and AT&T C-Band Launch Portends Future of 5G

2021 Forbes Columns

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Forbes Columns
TECHnalysis Research president Bob O'Donnell writes a regular column in Forbes and those columns are posted here and archived on this site.


August 4, 2022
Qualcomm Diversifying Brand and Product Strategy

By Bob O'Donnell

If I was to ask you to make brand associations with a semiconductor-focused company like Qualcomm and its Snapdragon line of products, I’m guessing you might not come up with Ferrari, Louis Vuitton, or English Premier League powerhouse Manchester United. And yet, over the course of the last year or so, those are the companies and organizations that Qualcomm has partnered with to spread the word on its Snapdragon products.

The deal with Manchester United, in fact, was just announced, and represents Qualcomm’s latest effort at promoting the Snapdragon brand to a much broader consumer audience. Full details of the partnership remain to be seen, but it is certainly not hard to imagine things like Snapdragon-powered AR/VR experiences at Man Utd matches, in addition to typical sponsorship deals.

The interesting part of these diverse branding partnerships is that they’re also being timed with a strategic diversification of the company’s efforts in entering new product categories and different industries. Long known as a key player in developing chips for smartphones and other mobile devices, as well as an important developer of critical IP for telco industry standards like 5G, Qualcomm has been on a mission recently to extend its influence into several intelligent edge computing applications.

On the automotive side, for example, the strategic technology partnership with Ferrari is part of Qualcomm’s efforts in its automotive industry-focused Snapdragon Digital Chassis platform. As cars are becoming increasingly intelligent and connected (as well as electrified), a huge influx of major chip makers has been making inroads into the car industry to help with these efforts.

The Snapdragon Digital Chassis effort consists of four parts that cover cockpit controls, connectivity, autonomous driving, and car-to-cloud platform, with Ferrari initially focusing on Qualcomm’s Cockpit Platform. Like many of its competitors, Qualcomm is working with numerous car manufacturers, including BMW, GM, and Stellantis (Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, etc.), on different combinations of these various capabilities.

As it is still early days for these efforts, revenues from the automotive side are currently modest, but at last week’s positive quarterly earnings call, the company did mention that it had built up an impressive $19 billion pipeline of auto-industry orders. (Because of the ways cars are designed and built, orders often come in years before the cars are completed and the revenue recorded).

The Louis Vuitton connection dovetails with the company’s latest efforts in wearables (see “Qualcomm Accelerates Wearables With W5 Platforms”) as the market for devices like smartwatches continues to evolve and expand. While many wearable devices have focused primarily on fitness, there has also been a growing effort to turn them into fashion-conscious accessories as well, particularly with the smaller, slimmer designs that the latest generation Snapdragon W5 chips enable for the first time.

In the case of the new Manchester United partnership, it is arguably a bit of an extension of the company’s existing sports-focused marketing efforts, such as the branding of the new Snapdragon Stadium, which is located near the company’s San Diego headquarters. (The previous stadium, located on the same site, had been named Qualcomm Stadium from 1997-2017 and served as the home stadium for both San Diego State University and the San Diego Chargers NFL team.) Man Utd, however, has a much more global appeal and reflects the company’s desire to make Snapdragon a worldwide consumer tech ingredient brand, conceptually similar to what Intel did with its long-running Intel Inside campaign.

Part of Qualcomm’s efforts at diversification are very pragmatic, as the worldwide smartphone market that has helped drive much of the company’s recent growth has been declining (though, to be clear, it’s still a very large market). To continue growing, the company has to branch out in new directions. Beyond the pragmatism, however, the company’s expertise in connectivity and compute is strategically well-timed. As more and more devices are getting connected and the demand for power-efficient SOCs grows, Qualcomm’s collection of products and technologies is proving to be a good match for an increasingly diverse range of industries. In that light, increasing the brand exposure of the company’s primary product line just makes sense.

Disclosure: TECHnalysis Research is a tech industry market research and consulting firm and, like all companies in that field, works with many technology vendors as clients, some of whom may be listed in this article.

Here’s a link to the original column: https://www.forbes.com/sites/bobodonnell/2022/08/04/qualcomm-diversifying-brand-and-product-strategy/

Forbes columnist Bob O'Donnell is the president and chief analyst of TECHnalysis Research, a market research and consulting firm that provides strategic consulting and market research services to the technology industry and professional financial community.