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Intel courts a wireless chipmaker

Infineon is in its sights
Mon Jul 12 2010, 16:08

CHIPMAKER Intel is close to sealing a deal with the German firm Infineon to acquire its wireless communications division, which is valued at an estimated $1.1 to $1.4 billion.

According to a report at the German newspaper Die Welt, Intel has been meeting with Infineon AG in the past few weeks to work out the final details of the deal.

Infineon's Wireless Solutions division makes just about anything RF based, including mobile phone technology and WiMAX baseband devices. You'll find Infineon RFID chips in modern Chinese passports, keeping the masses in check, and you'll also see it in the almighty tablet from the capuccino company, the Ipad, ironically powering its stunted 3G connection.

Infineon's wireless business accounts for about one-fourth of the group's total income, around €936 million last year, with a loss of €36 million.

Until money changes hands, we'll speculate on the implications. This move can be far-reaching, as Intel has seen its own WiMAX technology lose a bit of ground to LTE as the succeeding wireless standard in mobile communications. The trick here was that Intel geared its tech to be both wireless and fixed. As Intel has always had this penchant for leading by example, this might stir up the WiMAX ranks and get something actually done.

Also, for Intel, as a manufacturer of 3G chips, this also means a finger in a lot of pies, including Apple's, and a fresh new revenue stream for the company that only now seems to be eyeing mobile phone communications seriously.

On the other hand, Nokia might be throwing its arms up in the air right about now. Nokia Siemens networks is a competitor to Infineon, while Nokia itself has been in bed with Intel ever since they decided to merge their mobile Linux initiatives in MeeGo.

We could go on and on, but the fact of the matter is that whenever Intel decides to become a player in a business, it rarely leaves anything to chance. µ


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