The personal portable computer of Qualcomm Inc.'s chief executive officer, which apparently contained valuable company secrets, disappeared from a hotel conference room moments after he addressed a national business journalists' meeting.
Irwin Jacobs left the computer unattended on a podium or an adjoining table in the Hyatt Regency-Irvine ballroom for 15-20 minutes when he stepped down to talk to a small group after addressing about 90 members of the Society of American Business Editors and Writers.
Jacobs told conference organizers that the IBM laptop, which he had used for a slide show-type presentation focusing on Qualcomm's wireless telecommunications technology, contained proprietary information that could be valuable to foreign governments.
Qualcomm is a leader in wireless technology -- a boom market of the burgeoning telecommunications revolution -- with $3.9 billion in revenues last year. It designs and produces chips for wireless communications devices.