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Broadcom Buys Renesas' LTE Assets IP, SoC & Engineers

9/4/2013 07:40 PM EDT
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junko.yoshida
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Will this be a threat to Qualcomm?
junko.yoshida   9/4/2013 8:46:18 PM
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Broadcom has definitely improved its position in the global smartphone market with this acquisition. 

At a time when the chip industry consolidation -- especially around smartphones -- is rampant, Renesas Mobile team couldn't have probbably found a better home than Broadcom.

That said, will this put Broadcom on par with Qualcomm? At least, it's a start. What do you think? What is Broadcom still missing?

eewiz
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Re: Will this be a threat to Qualcomm?
eewiz   9/4/2013 10:33:22 PM
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That's a great deal for Broadcom. IIRC they paid 300+ m$ for Beceem communications for the LTE/wimax chipsets several years ago. And no outputs till now. Hopefully this can speed up things. I am surprised, that Intel didnt take a look as they would need this business more badly than broadcom.

 

"That said, will this put Broadcom on par with Qualcomm? At least, it's a start. What do you think? What is Broadcom still missing?"

Broadcom is clearly missing the ARM CPU design expertise compared to Qualcomm. Qualcomm's snapdragon chipsets with  architecturally optimized ARM CPUs still has the lowest power in the industry, which is difficult for other vendors to catch up with. 

 

 

 

junko.yoshida
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Re: Will this be a threat to Qualcomm?
junko.yoshida   9/5/2013 9:59:17 AM
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@eewiz, very true.

Broadcom announced earlier this yea that it licensed the ARMv7 and ARMv8 chip architecture...it appears still a long way before we get to see what sort of optimized ARM CPUs Broadcom willl come up with.

rick merritt
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Re: Will this be a threat to Qualcomm?
rick merritt   9/4/2013 10:55:38 PM
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I only got one question in to Paul Jacobs at a press Q&A at Uplinq today so I asked about the slow down in CMOS scaling rather than this Bcom deal. Perhpas I will get l;ucky and bump into him tomorrow.

My gut says Qcomm is executing well in LTE. They were the first to have cloeint chips for LTE Release 10 that supports carrier aggregation, a feature much in demand at some spectrum-constrained operators.

I thinbk the story is both Intel (which bought the Fujitsu Wireless unit recently) and B'com have had to go back to the acquisition well tog et up to speed in LTE. That tells me the technology is more complex than we imagined.

A Qcomm exec here did say one of the industry's big issues is creating a world phone given 50+ bands of LTE and diverse combos of paired bands. He said Qcomm is investing heavily in this and told reporters to go ask otherds what they are doing about it. I think this is what they are doing.

Sheetal.Pandey
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Re: Will this be a threat to Qualcomm?
Sheetal.Pandey   9/5/2013 6:58:09 AM
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Looks like acquisitions and mergers are trend these days. 1200 engineers bought over, there starts the cost cutting.

junko.yoshida
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Re: Will this be a threat to Qualcomm?
junko.yoshida   9/5/2013 9:50:10 AM
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I agree, Rick. I had severa occasions to sit down with RMC executives in the past; and over and over, what became painfully clear to me is that we, the press, tend to underetimate how expensive it is to develop modem products, and how expansive an effort it requires to get their modem chips tested on the field, modify them and get approved by carriers.

Certainly, Qualcomm is far ahead of others; and its competitors are trying very hard to catch up.

Peter Clarke
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Re: Will this be a threat to Qualcomm?
Peter Clarke   9/5/2013 11:05:00 AM
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Broadcom did not figure in the top five suppliers of multicore smartphone application processors in 1H13 according to Strategy Analytics (see {doclink 1319408}). They were even beind ST-Ericsson which was a zombie in 1H13. However, what Broadcom does have going for it already is the ability to integrate a baseband modem, according to the market research firm. This acquisition should enhance that capability although it may take a year or more to come through.

Hughston
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Re: Will this be a threat to Qualcomm?
Hughston   9/5/2013 6:06:49 PM
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I was wondering if you ever expected this to happen? Broadcomm was having problems with their design but doing demos at trade shows like everything was ok. Clearly things were not ok. Now I wonder if they are buying a working design this time or not. It seems other companies have gone quiet also about their progress.  

junko.yoshida
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Re: Will this be a threat to Qualcomm?
junko.yoshida   9/5/2013 7:13:39 PM
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@Hughston, personally, i never expected this to happen. As you correctly point out, Broadcom was doing all the LTE demos at the tradeshow, as though nothing had gone wrong. As for Renesas LTE modem, judging from some comments we received from Renesas Mobile engineers on our forum here at www.eetimes.com, the chip -- already certified by several operators -- is ready go, in the hands of a few customers. It appears Broadcom this time around has a real thing...

Hughston
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Re: Will this be a threat to Qualcomm?
Hughston   9/5/2013 7:37:31 PM
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If the product was ready to go, then why didn't Renesas go with it? Same thing goes for the reported ST/Ericsson design that works. Companies go and get certified, but that does not mean it is a good working product ready for the market.  But several companies keep saying they're certified.

gtrax
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Re: Will this be a threat to Qualcomm?
gtrax   9/6/2013 1:28:54 AM
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 >If the product was ready to go, then why didn't Renesas go with it? 

I don't think it was anything to do with technology or product readiness. Renesas just did not have the fuel run it and they wanted to focus on their core bussiness. Unfortunately mobile chipset was not one of them to give it any time to get the returns.

junko.yoshida
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Re: Will this be a threat to Qualcomm?
junko.yoshida   9/6/2013 3:47:53 AM
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@Hughston, I think we need to be reminded that RMC's parent, Renesas, has been financially in a dire state for some time now. The parent company pulled the plug on RMC's biz, not RMC's customers.

cd2012
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Re: Will this be a threat to Qualcomm?
cd2012   9/6/2013 8:35:21 AM
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I once worked for a company that had produced one of the first (if not the first) integrated GSM baseband & transceiver chips.  From the hardware perspective, it was a crowning technical achievement and would have resulted in significant BOM savings to customers, but they weren't eating it up...why not?  Customers didn't want to invest the significant time and resources to change their firmware/software stack.  It didn't help that a competitor bought out a critical portion of the software stack either.


The lesson is don't understimate the support costs for hardware.

 

 

 

junko.yoshida
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Re: Will this be a threat to Qualcomm?
junko.yoshida   9/6/2013 8:27:45 PM
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@cd2012, Very well put. The lesson you mentioned here is still very relevant.

GeeKv2
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Finally !
GeeKv2   9/5/2013 2:10:54 PM
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The much awaited announcement is out now. Although a bit late, but better late than never. What remains to be seen is how many people will actually transfer to Broadcom given that many are under the notice period. Employment laws in several countries require that employees need to be re-hired. I have a feeling there might still be job losses from RMC's side

buprestid
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Another Acquisition?
buprestid   9/5/2013 3:52:26 PM
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Broadcom cellular is now a series of acquistions of Mobilink (2g), Zyray(3g), Beceem (4g) and now Renesas/Nokia(2g/3g/4g).  Merging all these group together will be a challenge, there is also a lot of duplication. What happened to the Beceem LTE development ... that acquisition looks to be a total loss.

Hughston
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Re: Another Acquisition?
Hughston   9/5/2013 6:13:08 PM
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Beceem was almost a total loss. They were bought for their potential in LTE technology, not their other existing product lines. The tip off that there was trouble came a year ago. 

Frank Eory
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A win win win
Frank Eory   9/5/2013 5:08:49 PM
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A win for everyone involved -- BRCM, Renesas and the LTE development team.

marhululu
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Re: A win win win
marhululu   9/6/2013 7:58:55 AM
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QBRCM maybe better

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