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Mergers & acquisitions

Microsoft Surfs the Mobile M&A Wave

4:25 PM -- Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT)'s $8.5 billion acquisition of Skype Ltd. is just the latest sign that we're in the midst of another wave of mobile acquisitions and consolidation. (See Microsoft to Buy Skype for $8.5B and Skype Gives Microsoft a Much Stronger Voice.)

The signs were already pretty obvious: Along with Microsoft's billions-of-dollars bet on VoIP this week, Motorola Mobility LLC bought a mobile video company and Nvidia Corp. (Nasdaq: NVDA) added to its chip smarts with Icera Inc.

I don't see this wave of acquisitions ending any time soon. Major companies appear more confident about spending some of the massive cash piles they'd been reluctant to touch during the dark days of the recession and mobile is still one of the hot areas to invest in.

I suspect that the past few days are actually a useful snapshot of some of the technologies that will attract the most attention. Mobile chips and video are likely to remain high on large player's shopping lists, although Microsoft has effectively taken the jewel in the crown of the VoIP world.

I also believe that mobile location startups are likely to catch the eye of both wireless carriers and other vendors. Although this might depend somewhat on the conclusions reached by the Congressional hearing on mobile location and privacy that's happening as I write this on Tuesday afternoon.

I wouldn't be surprised to see small cells and smarter ways to do Wi-Fi offload continuing to attract some attention in the M&A market too.

So, what do you think will get absorbed in this latest round of mobile buyouts? Click through and have your say on the LR Mobile message board, and we'll try and chart out what appears to be fast becoming a mobile bubble.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile

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