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.