Mobile

Ex-Intel executive comes out as Qualcomm’s chief marketing officer — and now loves mobile devices even more

Anand Chandrasekher (pictured right) was once the technical assistant to Craig Barrett, the former chief executive of Intel. He made sure Barrett’s slide shows worked right. And then he went on to become a senior executive running Intel’s PC chips business.

Now, after a hiatus, he has jumped ship to mobile in a big way. After joining a startup, Chandrasekher has now joined mobile chip giant Qualcomm as its chief marketing officer and made his first public appearance today with John Jackson (pictured right), the vice president of research at IDC, at the Open Mobile Summit in San Francisco. He noted that he won’t just copy Intel’s marketing game plan in his new job.

“You’re not going to see Qualcomm Inside,” he joked.

Qualcomm’s market capitalization is $103 billion. But now Chandrasekher says it will start spending money in a “concerted and focused manner” on making the brand better known.

“For that size of company, we are relatively unknown,” he said. His job will be to grow the company’s image and promote its sub-brands (such as its Snapdragon processor) as well, but without subverting the brands of its customers. (Intel has frequently been accused of doing so).

“We will always be partnership driven,” he said, noting that customers can always opt out of Qualcomm’s own ingredient marketing if that’s what they want.

You could see a certain irony in a man who was once the biggest advocates of the PC now promoting the smartphone and tablet revolution. But things change. Chandrasekher said that the landscape in mobile continues to change fast.

“In 2006, Nokia seemed unassailable,” he said. “Android and the Apple iPhone didn’t exist. This is not an industry where you can rest on your laurels.”

Chandrasekher said part of his job is to make sure that developers take advantage of the silicon chips that Qualcomm makes.

“If you don’t, our hardware is a nice toaster,” he said.

He said Qualcomm is focused on emerging markets like China and Latin America in addition to the U.S. The company wants to get its chips into smartphones and tablets being sold in all of those markets.

“You’ll see us invest in those markets,” he said. And over time, consumers will come to know Qualcomm, if Chandrasekher does his job right.


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