Qualcomm unit buys mobile web co iSkoot

This is wireless communications chip developer Qualcomm's first acquisition in Israel.

Wireless communications chip developer Qualcomm Inc. (Nasdaq: QCOM) makes few acquisitions, and has never before made an acquisition in Israel. Today, Qualcomm subsidiary Qualcomm Innovation Center Inc. announced the acquisition of an Israeli developer of technology for the transmission of web services on mobile telephones, iSkoot Technologies Inc. Qualcomm did not disclose the value of the deal, but it is reportedly $50-100 million.

iSkoot president and COO Jacob Guedalia and CTO David Guedalia founded the company in 2005. Most of the company's business is overseas, and it is headquartered in Silicon Valley, although its R&D center, which employs half the company's workforce, is in Beit Shemesh. The company originally focused on the development of VoIP solutions for mobile telephones, but over time it expanded to develop other web-based solutions.

iSkoot has raised $32 million from prestigious investors, including Vision Opportunity Master Fund, Charles River Ventures, Khosla Ventures established by Sun Microsystems founder Vinod Khosla, and many private investors.

Qualcomm has a market cap of $72 billion. It is the world's largest supplier of mobile telephone processors and it owns the intellectual property for the CDMA protocol.

Qualcomm has invested in two Israeli companies, both in the past year. The larger investment was $7 million in Dov Moran's Modu Ltd., and the second in start-up Panoramic Power Ltd., which develops electricity grid management solutions. Both investments were made through the local representative of Qualcomm's corporate venture capital fund.

Ironically, Qualcomm's acquisition in Israel was made in a field other than its core business. iSkoot's solutions are run on server farms or cloud computing, i.e. remote computers, through which it enables advanced applications, such as VoIP or social networks like FaceBook, MySpace, and Twitter to operate on mobile telephones, including previous generation phones. iSkoot began collaborating with Qualcomm as part of a joint venture to help Hutchison Telecommunications International Ltd. (NYSE: HTX; HKSE: 2332) develop a mobile telephone a year ago.

According to the Israel Venture Association, iSkoot has 70 employees. Qualcomm said that they would join Qualcomm Innovation Center. iSkoot's CEO is Mark Jacobstein. The company's customers include AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) and T-Mobile, and it is profitable. Qualcomm has had a development center in Haifa since the mid-1990s.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on October 13, 2010

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2010

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