The Potential Qualcomm Obstacle To WiMax

While the world still waits for WiMax to live up to its hype, there are developments transpiring that could prevent it from ever amounting to much of anything. First is the speculation that Intel is going to ditch its communications unit, which as one commenter noted, could suffocate WiMax by doing away with one of its most fervent hype-spinners supporters. Second is Qualcomm’s apparent belief that it has IP relevant to WiMax, which could hit manufacturers with not only added costs, but the hassle of dealing with a company that’s got a reputation for playing hardball when it comes to patent licensing. We noted earlier that Qualcomm had licensed some OFDM-related IP to a company called SoMa, but analysts now believe the company will use the deal as a precedent to demand payments from other WiMax manufacturers. What makes this slightly more interesting is Qualcomm’s interest in Flash-OFDM technology, which it acquired when it bought Flarion. Flash-OFDM already enjoys a significant head start on mobile WiMax, and it wouldn’t be too surprising to see Qualcomm use its WiMax-related IP as little more than a stick to drive manufacturers and operators to Flash-OFDM.

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