Small cells

Broadcom's Still Mum on Femtocells

Broadcom Corp. (Nasdaq: BRCM) admits this much: It ought to be interested in femtocells.

"That's a really potentially interesting market," CEO Scott McGregor said to a small gathering of press on Tuesday, in a casual session after the company's annual analyst day. (See Broadcom's Thinking Gets Cloudy.)

In fact, you might think Broadcom would be drawn toward femtocells, given the company's strength in broadband chips and its recent emphasis on cellphones, McGregor mused aloud.

Yep, you might think so. And that's all McGregor would say. Such a tease!

Asked if Broadcom acquired the femtocell assets of RadioFrame, as one Unstrung source had theorized last month, McGregor answered with a coy "I dunno," (in that "I do know, but, nice try" kind of way). (See RadioFrame's Mystery Femto Buyer.)

Broadcom's stonewalling on the matter is nothing new; in fact, it had been happening all day, as analysts asked about technologies Broadcom isn't yet shipping -- like Long Term Evolution (LTE). Although in that instance, you can at least say there's clear evidence that Broadcom is interested. (See What Is Broadcom's LTE Strategy?)

It's all part of Broadcom's longtime strategy. "We generally don't announce products before we ship, and I know that annoys people and it's not what other companies do," McGregor said.

At least McGregor, a more casual front man for Broadcom than founding CEO Henry Nicholas was, comes across as joking rather than arrogant. Reporters and analysts will continue asking about femtocells and LTE, and McGregor will keep using the occasion to mess with them.

— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

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