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New marketing head seen raising Qualcomm's profile

Anand Chandraseker spent 25 years at Intel; his last job there was heading Atom processor operation

Intel's former head of Ultra Mobility, hired Monday to become Qualcomm's chief marketing officer, shows that the San Diego-based chip maker is finally serious about marketing, one analyst said.

The hiring of Anand Chandrasekher "shows that Qualcomm is finally serious about bringing its marketing strategy out into the open," said Jack Gold, an analyst at J. Gold Associates. "They've always been quiet. Nobody much knew them."

Though it's much bigger that Qualcomm, Gold said that Intel's main competition today comes from the manufacturers of ARM-based chips, including Qualcomm, Nvidia, Samsung and others. The ARM chips are used in smartphones and tablets.

Chandrasekher left Intel in March after 25 years.

In his last post there, Chandrasekher was responsible for Intel's Atom chip, designed to be an energy efficient processor for smartphones. He had earlier headed Intel's successful development of Centrino mobile chips that are used in laptops.

Atom has failed to make important inroads against ARM-based chips while Qualcomm is one of the biggest suppliers of ARM-based processors for smartphones.

Qualcomm is also contracted to be a supplier of ARM processors for Windows Surface RT tablets. Intel will provide X86 processors for Surface Windows Pro tablets.

Despite the apparently unplanned departure from Intel, analysts agreed that Chandrasekher is a seasoned product development and marketing pro. He holds a bachelor's degree in computer science, as well as a master's in operations research from Cornell University and an MBA from Cornell.

Qualcomm CEO Steve Mollenkopf said Chandrasekher is "well suited to help grow Qualcomm's communications and marketing efforts across the world and to amplify our consumer offerings to new audiences."

Even though Chandrasekher has focused on marketing, Gold said it's possible, given his experience with Atom, that he can help Qualcomm engineers develop new chips to sell along with the ARM-based Snapdragon processors.

Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen, or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed . His e-mail address is [email protected].

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