NEW YORK Nov 13 Qualcomm Inc (QCOM.O) has
stopped development of Ultra Mobile Broadband (UMB), its
next-generation, high-speed wireless technology, and has been
making small-scale layoffs as it looks to cut costs in the
weakening economy, Chief Executive Paul Jacobs said.
But Jacobs told analysts at an annual investor conference on
Thursday that the wireless chip developer does not expect
massive layoffs because it sees a modest market recovery in the
second half of 2009.
"We don't have plans to do a large layoff across the
company," he said.
Instead, Qualcomm is carefully choosing which technologies
it invests in.
For example, it decided to stop development of UMB as big
service-provider customers, such as Verizon Wireless, have
chosen a rival technology called Long Term Evolution for its
next-generation high-speed network.
Jacobs said the company was putting resources into LTE
Qualcomm issued weaker-than-expected full-year forecasts
last week, leading some investors to question how sure it could
be of its outlook in the difficult economic environment, RBC
Capital analyst Mark Sue said.
Jacobs conceded that forecasting was difficult.
"We're trying to do as good a job as we can predicting the
market. With that said, there's still some uncertainty out
there," he said.
After opening the meeting by joking "Wasn't fiscal 2008 a
nice time?" Jacobs said he was still seeing growing demand for
advanced cell phones, putting Qualcomm in a good position as it
sells technology licenses as well as chips.
"We're looking at difficult times in the near term but the
long-term strength of the company is strong," he said.
Shares of Qualcomm rose 1 percent to $32.90 on the Nasdaq.
(Reporting by Sinead Carew, editing by Matthew Lewis)