Talk about your hardened competitor. Communications-chip maker Broadcom (Nasdaq: BRCM) has been able to dodge every bullet headed its way in the past few quarters -- be it customer missteps, a sagging economy, or even pricey legal spats. In its first-quarter earnings report released yesterday, Broadcom once again rose above the pack and surprised even the companies' own executives with strong revenue and profit growth.

Broadcom reported consolidated revenue of $1.03 billion for the first quarter, a 14.5% increase from a year ago and a sequential uptick of 0.5%. Included in that figure is $35.6 million in royalty revenue from Verizon (NYSE: VZ), as payment to allow the carrier to continue unabated with shipping devices that house Qualcomm (Nasdaq: QCOM) chipsets.

On a GAAP basis, the company reported net income of $74.3 million for the quarter, with the bottom line boosted by stricter cost control and an $8.5 million check from Qualcomm to reimburse legal costs for one of its court cases. Profits dropped from the seasonally strong fourth quarter, but this level is significantly above the $61 million in GAAP net income reported last year.

Broadcom also departed from the sanguine outlook from industry competitors and peers such as Texas Instruments (NYSE: TXN) and Nokia (NYSE: NOK) to give an upbeat forecast for the coming quarter. Although CEO Scott McGregor expressed caution about the softening economy, the company sees the strength in demand for its enterprise networking and broadband communications products spilling over into the next quarter.

In addition to being more judicious with spending, Broadcom is putting its massive options backdating matter behind it. The company announced that it has settled with the SEC for $12 million to close out the investigation into options backdating practices that spanned five years and resulted in more than $2 billion in earnings restatements. 

Broadcom is riding on a wave of strength while others are buckling -- a situation that could give the company an opportunity to grab more market share or make it vulnerable to competitors' price drops designed to move inventory. Broadcom is a fierce and well-diversified competitor, though, with customers spanning from IBM (NYSE: IBM) to DISH Network to Nortel Networks (NYSE: NT). With its track record, I'm inclined to think that Broadcom will capitalize on this strength and move even higher.

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Fool contributor Dave Mock takes his coffee black, his backrubs strong, and his Twinkies frozen. He owns shares of Qualcomm and is the author of The Qualcomm Equation. The Fool's disclosure policy celebrated Earth Day by hugging some old tree friends.