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QUALCOMM, Inc. (QCOM)’s Most Valuable Asset

The Motley Fool’s readers have spoken, and I have heeded your cries. After months of pointing out CEO gaffes and faux pas, I’ve decided to make it a weekly tradition to also point out corporate leaders who are putting the interests of shareholders and the public first and are generally deserving of praise from investors. For reference, here’s my previous selection.

QUALCOMM, Inc. (NASDAQ:QCOM)This week, we’ll take a closer look at QUALCOMM, Inc. (NASDAQ:QCOM) and discover why CEO Paul Jacobs has put QUALCOMM, Inc. (NASDAQ:QCOM) firmly at the top of the pack in wireless communications.

Kudos to you, Mr. Jacobs
As I discussed in March, QUALCOMM, Inc. (NASDAQ:QCOM) has two primary enemies: oversaturation and industrywide commoditization. Luckily for QUALCOMM, Inc. (NASDAQ:QCOM), the U.S. market is nothing like Russia, where there are far more phones than there are people living in the country, so there’s still room for expansion in terms of smartphones and tablets. It also helps that many rural areas of the U.S. still don’t have 4G LTE capability, leaving ample room for smartphone and tablet growth in those markets.

Still, this hasn’t helped Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), which is a prime customer of QUALCOMM, Inc. (NASDAQ:QCOM), utilizing its baseband processor in its iPhone and iPad. A combination of unrealistic growth expectations by investors and a growing presence of Samsung’s Galaxy S series phones have slowed iPhone demand and caused the company to reduce supply orders, to the surprise of everyone earlier this year. There’s also a nasty Catch-22 that exists in which Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) would love to be able to expand its fabless contract agreement with Taiwan Semiconductor Mfg. Co. Ltd. (ADR) (NYSE:TSM), but QUALCOMM, Inc. (NASDAQ:QCOM) is Taiwan Semiconductor Mfg. Co. Ltd. (ADR) (NYSE:TSM)’s other primary customer. If Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) were successful in negotiating more capacity, it would be hurting its own production potential by stymying Qualcomm’s.

However, these problems really are for naught when it comes to Qualcomm, the first vertically integrated wireless device company. When it comes to advanced wireless technology, Qualcomm is the king of the hill. Shortly after NVIDIA Corporation (NASDAQ:NVDA) announced the introduction of a new line of Tegra 4 quad-core processors, which have the processing capacity to outperform Qualcomm’s own chips based on speed, Qualcomm one-upped the entire field by introducing its all-in-one RF360 chip, which could be available as soon as the latter half of this year. The RF 360 chip is capable of handling RF band-fragmentation on the front end, potentially eliminating the need for an RF chip in its entirety, “combining all LTE platforms under one family of chips” (as my Foolish colleague Evan Niu so eloquently stated), and of course delivering the same high-end processing capability that we’ve come to expect from Qualcomm’s wireless technologies.

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