U.S. News

Qualcomm CEO Welcomes iPhone


Qualcommhas nothing to do with making Apple's iPhone , but the chief executive officer of the world's No. 2 cell phone chipmaker said Thursday that he has plenty to gain.

Apple's marketing and product design prowess have sparked huge interest among consumers and forced other manufacturers to come up with new phones to blunt their new rival, said Paul Jacobs.

"It's caused all the other manufacturers to step up their game," Jacobs said in an interview with The Associated Press. "I can't tell you the number of people who say, 'Oh, this is our iPhone killer.' It's already to that point where everybody's reacting."

The much-hyped iPhone is a combination cell phone, media player and wireless Web device that could spur consumer demand for more powerful phones. The models will retail for $499 and $599 starting June 29 and will work exclusively on AT&T's wireless network.

If the iPhone is a success, Jacobs said, it will show that consumers are willing to pay much for handsets than they do today.

"There's going to be a lot of people in the industry who are going to be very happy if it turns out that people are willing to spend that kind of money," Jacobs said.

Jacobs declined to say if Qualcomm has discussed collaborating with Apple on any future iPhone models.

Apple's foray comes as Qualcomm contests a U.S. International Trade Commission decision that may create headaches for Apple rivals. The ITC's June 7 ruling in a patent dispute between Qualcomm and rival Broadcom banned certain phones with Qualcomm chips.

The ban affects the high-speed EV-DO and WCDMA network technologies. Carriers that stand to suffer most are Verizon Wireless and Sprint Nextel,  which rely heavily on Qualcomm chips. Hardest hit among manufacturers would be LG Electronics and Samsung Electronics.

Jacobs said San Diego-based Qualcomm hopes the Bush administration vetoes the ITC order.

"We want to see the new phones come out," he said. "We're working with our partners around that but there's just a whole lot of uncertainty, which a presidential veto would clear up."

Jacobs spoke during Qualcomm's seventh annual Brew conference, which drew more than 2,500 software developers and others.

Qualcomm announced its newest technology, Brand-Xtend, which aims to make it easier for companies to sell their products on wireless devices. It said Thursday that Major League Baseball will sell its merchandise using the service.

Qualcomm is the world's second-largest cell phone chipmaker after Texas Instruments and collects licensing fees on its patented technologies.