Qualcomm goes on a spending spree, buys Atheros

Adds another missing link to its range of products

QUALCOMM APPEARS TO have blown its entire budget for this year already, as the company has announced that it has procured network chip specialist Atheros for the not so insignificant sum of $3.1 billion. Considering Atheros broad portfolio of networking products, this might very well be a fair sum paid, but we can’t help to wonder if Qualcomm couldn’t have gotten a better deal elsewhere.

According to the press release, the two companies have been on good terms for quite some time “Qualcomm and Atheros have a long history of collaboration and share a culture of technical innovation and execution excellence”. This in itself makes for a much more amicable buyout and hopefully the two companies should integrate quickly.

It’s not hard to see why Qualcomm bought Atheros, as in today’s world where patents matter more than anything else and lawyers rule the world, having in-house technology and patents are key. Qualcomm is one of the major players in the mobile phone chip market, but the company also produces a wide range of solution for everything from notebook data solutions to wireless charging and even has its own display technology and an OS of its own for feature phones. What Qualcomm didn’t have was in-house Wi-Fi and Bluetooth technology, something that Atheros brings to the table.

Add to this Atheros experience with GPS, wired Ethernet and power line communications products and you’re pretty much covering the entire span of products that Qualcomm is already involved with. Today it’s becoming more and more important to be a total solutions provider; even for the chip makers and even more so when we’re talking about chips that go into phones, especially smartphones. If Qualcomm can levy the technology from Atheros in the right way we might even see a single chip solution in the future that incorporates all the connectivity technology you’d ever need in your new smartphone or tablet.

There’s no doubt that Qualcomm is becoming one of the key players in the ARM based SoC market and with its purchase of Atheros the company has only strengthened its position. Very few companies are going to be able to compete in terms of in-house solutions with Qualcomm and this will also help Qualcomm to strengthen its position in the market further. That said, at least for the time being there are enough competitors in the market to prevent Qualcomm from becoming a too dominant player, despite it seemingly being the favourite choice for many if not all of the smartphone manufacturers.S|A

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