& cplSiteName &

Qualcomm Buys Airgo, RFMD Assets

Dan Jones
LR Mobile News Analysis
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor
12/4/2006
50%
50%

Qualcomm Inc. (Nasdaq: QCOM) says that it will buy Airgo Networks Inc. -- as well as the Bluetooth assets of RF Micro Devices Inc. (Nasdaq: RFMD) -- in a move that instantly gives the company, which helped pioneer the CDMA networking protocol, a major presence in the market for the newest WiFi technology.

Qualcomm hasn't revealed how much it will pay for Airgo. The startup first introduced WiFi chipsets based on MIMO (multiple input, multiple output) antenna technology, which is the basis of 802.11n WLAN, in 2003. MIMO "smart antenna" technology uses multiple antennas on the client device and -- often -- the access point to increase the speed and capacity of an 802.11 wireless link to over 108 Mbit/s. (See Airgoooooooooooo! .)

Airgo has been an early leader in this market. Initial sales in the so-called "pre-802.11n" have generally been in the consumer market with SOHO routers and WLAN cards being top sellers. (See Airgo Hits Million Mark and Enterprise WLAN Market Up 19%.) Qualcomm says it will continue to support these products and also bring the technology into its newer mobile silicon, such as its recently announced "Snapdragon" wireless multimedia chipsets (See Powering Up 3G.)

Additionally, Airgo has taken an active role in the long-running efforts to deliver an Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc. (IEEE) 802.11n specification, an effort dogged by infighting between the multiple vendors involved. Qualcomm is also involved with the 802.11n spec work, so it's unclear if this acquisition will speed up the ratification. (See Dot-N Delayed Again.)

The Wi-Fi Alliance recently stepped in to foster interoperability between "pre-n" WLAN products and alleviate the early problems. Airgo and Qualcomm have used the Wi-Fi Alliance's interoperability specification to introduce an 802.11 "draft 2.0-compliant" chipset. The AGN400 chipset is currently sampling and will be publicly demonstrated in January 2007 at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas and be commercially available shortly thereafter. (See WiFi's High-Speed Compromise.)

Meanwhile, Qualcomm has acquired the Bluetooth assets of RFMD for $39 million. The buyout will give Qualcomm the technology to integrate Bluetooth into its own chipsets. The firm has previously worked with Broadcom Corp. (Nasdaq: BRCM) and Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) on Bluetooth.

Both of these acquisitions give Qualcomm extra wireless technologies under one roof and should allow it to build more connectivity options into a single chip. Integration has become more important in the mobile chipset market as smartphones and other devices become increasingly powerful.

The Airgo acquisition is expected to close by January 2007.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

(0)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Featured Video
From The Founder
John Chambers is still as passionate about business and innovation as he ever was at Cisco, finds Steve Saunders.
Flash Poll
Upcoming Live Events
June 26, 2018, Nice, France
September 12, 2018, Los Angeles, CA
September 24-26, 2018, Westin Westminster, Denver
October 9, 2018, The Westin Times Square, New York
October 17, 2018, Chicago, Illinois
October 23, 2018, Georgia World Congress Centre, Atlanta, GA
November 7-8, 2018, London, United Kingdom
November 8, 2018, The Montcalm by Marble Arch, London
November 15, 2018, The Westin Times Square, New York
December 4-6, 2018, Lisbon, Portugal
All Upcoming Live Events
Hot Topics
NFV Is Down but Not Out
Iain Morris, News Editor, 5/22/2018
Trump Denies ZTE Deal, Faces Senate Backlash
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 5/22/2018
What VeloCloud Cost VMware
Phil Harvey, US News Editor, 5/21/2018
5G in the USA: A Post-BCE Update
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 5/23/2018
Vanquished in Video, Verizon Admits OTT Defeat
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 5/23/2018
Animals with Phones
Live Digital Audio

A CSP's digital transformation involves so much more than technology. Crucial – and often most challenging – is the cultural transformation that goes along with it. As Sigma's Chief Technology Officer, Catherine Michel has extensive experience with technology as she leads the company's entire product portfolio and strategy. But she's also no stranger to merging technology and culture, having taken a company — Tribold — from inception to acquisition (by Sigma in 2013), and she continues to advise service providers on how to drive their own transformations. This impressive female leader and vocal advocate for other women in the industry will join Women in Comms for a live radio show to discuss all things digital transformation, including the cultural transformation that goes along with it.

Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed