QUALCOMM, Inc. (NASDAQ:QCOM) recently welcomed a Silicon Valley veteran Jonathan Rubinstein to their Board of Directors. The executive recently was SVP of Product Innovation for Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE:HPQ). He also lead HP’s Palm Global Business Unit and prior to that he was the Executive Chairman of Palm Inc which was eventually acquired by Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE:HPQ).
Previously, he also ran the iPod division and iMac engineering team. His long and impressive resume includes Stardent Computer, NeXT Computer, Firepower Systems, and Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN).
Rubinstein’s vast work history will give him the foundation to work on.
A few months ago, QUALCOMM, Inc. (NASDAQ:QCOM) hired Laurie Yoler (tech investor) as the senior vice president of business development. Her primary job description entails, “responsible for augmenting existing business relationships in Silicon Valley, as well as developing new strategic business opportunities for Qualcomm in the region.”
Arik Hessendahl wrote a primer on Rubenstein when he left HP last year:
Best known for his work on Apple’s iconic iPod music player, Rubinstein left Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) in 2006 and joined Roger McNamee as a partner in the private equity firm Elevation Partners, following its 2007 investments in Palm.
In 2009 he replaced longtime Palm executive Ed Colligan as its CEO, and oversaw a dramatic restructuring of the company’s products, including a significant rebuild of its smartphone operating system. Gone was the legacy PalmOS that had been used in so many popular devices like the Treo that for a time competed seriously against Research In Motion’s BlackBerry.
PalmOS was replaced by WebOS, which first appeared on the Pre smartphone, then later on the Pixi and Veer devices. After HP acquired Palm, WebOS was also used on the abandoned TouchPad tablet, and is now an open-source operating system overseen by HP.
Rubinstein’s departure is no big surprise. Sources said he hadn’t been seen at HP’s offices following the decision by former CEO Léo Apotheker to get out of the business of making WebOS-based hardware. His future plans have been the subject of speculation for some time.
After Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE:HPQ) decided to exit the WebOS hardware business, Rubinstein was assigned to a vaguely described “product innovation role” within HP’s Personal Systems Group during a management shakeup last July. It was an unusual move and one made with little explanation at the time. But sources say it was a preface to Rubinstein’s departure, one intended to lessen its PR impact when he finally left. “That ‘innovation’ gig he was given in July was his first step toward the exit,” said one source, a former Palm exec with close ties to Rubinstein.
QUALCOMM, Inc. (NASDAQ:QCOM) is also trying to beef up their master brand as a phone chip designer. Their job is to design chips for mobile devices and hires other people to actually make the chips. Unlike Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC), Qualcomm isn’t as nearly as well known and one of those reasons has to do with the distribution process.
Intel sells their chips directly to the hardware makers who in turn sell their products to individuals and businesses. QUALCOMM, Inc. (NASDAQ:QCOM) sells their chips to the hardware makers and phone carriers. Qualcomm offered their support to such carriers quietly but that looks like it’s about to change soon as the company wants to promote their brand.