I was going through some of the slides at Qualcomm BREW conference held back in June in San Diego . ( I wish that the Indian BREW conference proceedings/videos are also published likewise). I have heard about BREW quite long ago but having looked at it in a little more detail now I witnessed first hand at the kind of platform coordination play that qualcomm is excelling at.
I was & am a big fan of Qualcomm since from my college days for the phenomenal technical work done by them. My first expose/knowledge to/about qualcomm was when I studied the wonderful viterbi algorithm(used in HMM) then later studying about spread spectrum (I was thrilled by this greatly at one point of time), CDMA etc. So technically very very cool stuff has been doled out always from but what is great to see is that how they are playing their strategic cards really very well. They are by far the best examples of a platform coordinator. With BREW they provide a complete range of solution for mobile applications. (Devloping, Marketing & Monetizing it). Their provisions is trully end to end when compared to Nokia (another excellent platform coordinator but I guess a little dwarfed compared to Qualcomm) which coordinates at the handset and its system software level.
When you look at this coordination effort display that qualcomm is displayed then it makes you wonder as to what are the factors that drive a player in a value chain help take a dominant position. In Japan where NTT Docomo (the telco) tells the handset manufacturers, content providers what to do in the network and thus it is the one which solves the coordination problem there but in case of Qualcomm which is anything but a telco (at best it could be called a Handset manufacturer) does the coordination. [ Is'nt it the job of telco solve the coordination problem in the network market]
Talking about the strategic play it is important to mention that qualcomm has secured its future very well by buying out Flarion’s FLASH OFDM. Any wireless geek would drool over how cool is FLASH OFDM ( Fairly Low latency Access Seamless Hopping, Orthogonal Frequency Divisional Multiplexing). OFDM(especially Flash OFDM) is a pretty disruptive play in the mobile wirless space. There is so much that one could write about OFDM and I I will post about it sometime later.
A streak of a thought comes to my mind sometimes – I should have taken up the job(any) offer from Qualcomm last year which I got when they had just opened their hyderabad office :) Well eventually the things did not work out due to non coordination around profile of the work. I expressed interest in stuff related to DSP & communication while they insisted that I take a profile on developing compilers for their SDKs.
Btw Here’s a little trivia , qualcomm is one of the few rare technology companies which has the lowest attrition rate which is far below the average.