Qualcomm: Tools? Nobody Had Tools.

September 7, 2020

I read “Qualcomm’s Founder On Why the US Doesn’t Have Its Own Huawei.” Interesting viewpoints appear in the article.

Here’s the passage that caught my attention:

Qualcomm, by selling companies a comprehensive chipset that could power a cellphone, actually made it easier for new Chinese competitors to hit the market, because they had the tools to create a product instantly. “Unfortunately,” he says, “nobody in the US has really run with it” and done the same thing.

And then:

Another complicating factor is that governments in China and Europe have had industrial aid policies that helped their telecom firms in a way that the US has not. “Our government has not provided R&D support or other support that Huawei and ZTE (another successful Chinese firm) managed to get from their own government,” Jacobs says.


  1. US companies are as large or larger in terms of access to cash and humans. Those companies have the resources to solve certain technical problems, sustain the ecosystem to support certain technologies, and push technology which will be used by billions. What went wrong? Is it possible the US companies were supplying grain to the highest bidder. These bidders then developed industrialized farms. Looks like an error and finger pointing.
  2. Those who build tools often discover unexpected consequences. As a child I read science fiction books. I recall descriptions of humans building robots and then robots building robots. The story explained that humans were subjugated to their robot overlords who manufactured more and increasingly sophisticated robots. An unexpected consequence?
  3. “Nobody” and the “government” are convenient excuses.

Net net: Significant shift in the balance of technological power seems to be evident and industry spark plugs are not delivering the necessary oomph. Not a flattering look in what should be a public relations extravaganza, not evidence of systemic failure.

Stephen E Arnold, September 7, 2020


One Response to “Qualcomm: Tools? Nobody Had Tools.”

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