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Report: Qualcomm Datacenter Chief Steps Down

Anand Chandrasekher, head of Qualcomm's datacenter unit, has reportedly exited the company, casting doubts on the future of Qualcomm's datacenter business.

Chandrasekher's departure was first reported by news Web site Axios earlier this week. Qualcomm did not respond to a request for comment about the executive's departure, which has revived recent rumors that Qualcomm may be exiting the datacenter market.

Chandrasekher left Intel in 2012, where he'd served as chief of the company's Ultra Mobility Group, to become Qualcomm's chief marketing officer. He became senior vice president and general manager of Qualcomm Datacenter Technologies in 2013.

News that Qualcomm is considering whether to close down that division (which is responsible for developing processors for datacenter servers) or look for a buyer was reported earlier this month by Bloomberg. The report cited an anonymous source "familiar with the company's plans."

The San Diego, Calif.-based mobile chipmaker made a splash with its December 2016 launch of the Centriq 2400 processor line, the first ARM-based server processor built on a 10-nanometer process node. The chips are built on 10nm FinFET 3D multi-gate process technology, and feature a custom ARMv8 CPU core (called Falkor) optimized for server workloads. Falkor was designed specifically for the Centriq line, Chandrasekher said at the time in a blog post.

Qualcomm bet big on the ARM architecture in a market virtually ruled by Intel and its Platinum 8180 processor. As the biggest player backing ARM-based processors for the datacenter, Qualcomm was set to compete aggressively in the cloud server markets in performance per watt, overall performance and cost.

Qualcomm has remained silent on this subject, though CEO Steve Mollenkopf told analysts during last month's earnings report that Qualcomm is focused on spending reductions in its non-core product areas. The move has been seen as a response to the unsuccessful hostile takeover bid from Broadcom earlier this year.

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John K. Waters is a freelance author and journalist based in Silicon Valley. His latest book is The Everything Guide to Social Media. Follow John on Twitter, read his blog on ADTmag.com, check out his author page on Amazon, or e-mail him at john@watersworks.com.