Qualcomm Promotes Exec to CEO Before Microsoft Can Steal Him Away

One day after Bloomberg News reported that Steve Mollenkopf was a candidate to replace Steve Ballmer at the top of Microsoft Corp., the Qualcomm COO got a big promotion. 

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Yesterday, Bloomberg News reported that Steve Mollenkopf, the COO of communications tech giant Qualcomm, was a leading candidate to replace Steve Ballmer as CEO of Microsoft Corp. Today, he became a CEO, all right. Of Qualcomm.

Mollenkopf current employer has appointed him take over the stop spot at Qualcomm next March, blocking any chance that he might get stolen away by Redmond. He'll replace Paul Jacobs, who is moving on to the executive chairman position. 

Qualcomm makes chips for mobile phones, so Mollenkopf's reported consideration for the top job at Microsoft made sense, as Microsoft wants to get in on the device market and is still playing catch up to the Apple and Google in the mobile wars. Mollenkopf was one of several candidates in the running for the CEO position, along with Microsoft executive Satya Nadella, Bloomberg reported Thursday.

Mollenkopf's promotion means that the executive, who started at the company nearly 20 years ago, is taking over something of a family business. Jacobs is the son of Irwin Jacobs, one of the co-founders of the company, and he has worked there since getting his Ph.D. in 1989. According to Bloomberg, Mollenkopf earned $14.2 million from his COO job at the company last year, though he can probably expect a hefty bump to stay right where he is.

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