Qualcomm Makes Two More Intellectual Property-Centric Purchases

Qualcomm says it's made two more acquisitions, buying WiFi company Airgo, and the Bluetooth business of RF Micro Devices. It says that it will integrate the companies' products into its own mobile chipsets, so it can offer its customers more complete solutions for their mobile products. But that's just half the story: what would a Qualcomm acquisition be without some tasty intellectual property? It sounds a lot like the company's earlier purchase of Flarion, where Qualcomm's interest in the company's Flash-OFDM technology appears to amount to little more than the value of its intellectual property, particularly as it pertains to WiMAX. Airgo has a load of patents related to MIMO, the underlying technology that makes 802.11n an improvement over previous versions of WiFi, and is also being built into mobile WiMAX implementations. RFMD also has some Bluetooth intellectual property, though it's not clear if this will help Qualcomm in its ongoing patent fight with Broadcom. While Qualcomm's making noises like it's interested in these companies' products, these deals really look like -- true to form -- they're just IP plays, and the Airgo deal in particular should raise some eyebrows among WiFi vendors.

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  1. identicon
    alaric, Dec 4th, 2006 @ 10:43am

    Flarion IP Play against WiMAX

    Don't think so. Sure its nice to have an option to hit a technology that sucks at mobility with law suits but qualcomm needed OFDM eventually and Flarion's was very very good. FLASH-OFDM is more likely to be a powerplay against UMTS LTE than against wimax (our mobility is less efficient than UMTS). It seems like having the option to control 802.20 and possibly to influence UMTS LTE might have a little value too. You painted the bullseye on the wrong tech. WiMAX is a diversion. 802.20, LTE are the real deal.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 4th, 2006 @ 10:43am

    "(our mobility is less efficient than UMTS)" to whom does "our" refer?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    alaric, Dec 4th, 2006 @ 10:43am

    Our Mobility

    refers to WiMAX. Every indication is that wimax in a loaded cells sans MIMO (which can be applied to anything) will offer less spectral efficiency than HSDPA/HSUPA and that's before we factor in handoffs. WiMAX may offer some MAC layer improvements but don't know that probably not enough to overcome its other liabilities.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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