Intel Corp. today announced that it has acquired the Ford Microelectronics Inc. (FMI) development team and plans to fold the unit into its Wireless Computing and Communications Group (WCCG).
FMI has been a wholly owned subsidiary of Visteon Corp., which was formerly Ford Motor Co.'s Automotive Products Operations. It was spun off in 1997 as a global automotive products and technology supplier. FMI was formed in 1982 and designs and for automotive applications. Terms of the all cash transaction were not disclosed.
Under Intel, however, the group will help Intel speed the development of ICs for next-generation cellular devices. These so-called 2.5G/3G devices will combine high-speed Internet access and voice communications over cellular networks.
The new products may or may not have automotive applications. "We will combine our analog and digital technologies for a full range of wireless applications," said an Intel spokesman.
"We are pleased that this talented design team has joined Intel, where they'll play a key role in developing our advanced cellular products," said Ron Smith, Intel vice president and general manager of WCCG. "The team's analog and mixed-signal IC design expertise complements Intel's portfolio of StrongARM processors, flash memory, and cellular chipsets."
The FMI team is based in Colorado Springs, Colo., about five miles from Intel's Fab 23 manufacturing facility. Intel will convert the FMI site into an Intel design center. The team will continue to be led by Tom Lombardi, former president of FMI, who reports to Tom McCloud, general manager of Intel's Central Capabilities Engineering group.
Intel announced its commitment to wireless communications with the formation of WCCG in December 1999. The group focuses on providing wireless building blocks for high-speed data and voice communications in the growing cellular market segment. The Santa Clara, Calif., company has also opened Intel Wireless Competency Centers in Sweden, Japan and China to work with regional industry leaders on developing wireless solutions.