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Broadcom to Divest Cellular Baseband Chip Business

6/2/2014 08:40 PM EDT
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GeeKv2
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Modem doom
GeeKv2   6/3/2014 6:16:57 AM
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Another one bites the dust.

Only a handful of companies are making handset modems today. At this rate of decline, it wont take long before competition gets wiped out. The ones remaining will resort to arm twisting tactics and consumers will suffer.

junko.yoshida
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Re: Modem doom
junko.yoshida   6/3/2014 11:11:16 AM
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Indeed. It goes to show how quickly this celluar market could change. Especially competing in the mid to low-end is getting extremely tough. (Abd of course in the United States where handsets are heavily subsidized by operator, handset solutions could go extremely high-end, which makes it virtually impossible to compete if your chips are not in either Samsung or in Apple.

Scudrunner
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Re: Modem doom
Scudrunner   6/3/2014 11:47:03 AM
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The writing has been on the wall for a while here. I'm sure Apple and Samsung want a good alternative to Qualcomm, but technically they are so far ahead on LTE that nobody (except perhaps Intel) has deep enough pockets to catch up. Eventually. Qualcomm owns developed markets, Mediatek owns emerging (China) markets. Everyone else is bleeding money. Admittedly the move is long term negative for Broadcom's connectivity business but the financial pain was too great - the shares were trading at a significant discount to peers. 

scud
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Hurried closing
scud   6/3/2014 2:50:37 PM
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There is an element of impatience in this closing decision as well. Broadcom acquired Renesas and is now closing down the whole thing (legacy Broadcom + Renesas cellular business) within 8 months. Is it realistic for complex modem technology to come out as phones in less than 8 months, and that too in large volumes? I wonder why the market related calculations could not have been done earlier .....

ismini.scouras
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Not surprised
ismini.scouras   6/3/2014 3:14:04 PM
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CEOs from all sectors (not just tech) are even more hard-pressed today to make risky decisions work. If an investment doesn't yield the kinds of gains that are most beneficial to shareholders within six to nine months, their job is on the line. I'm not inferring here that McGregor 's position was in jeopardy because there were no sentiments on the Street of that nature. But I think we will see management at more companies pull out of a market quickly, if they can't gain traction fast enough to be a market share leader.  

rick merritt
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Re: Modem doom
rick merritt   6/3/2014 4:32:58 PM
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This must be a hard decision as importnat as cellular connectivity will be for thens and hundreds of millions of gadgets for years to come.

tpfj
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Re: Modem doom
tpfj   6/3/2014 4:44:38 PM
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Unless you are consistently selling >350~450M chipsets a year it is hard to fund the efforts required to maintain the level of complexity that modern cellular modems demand. These extracts from above say it all:

"We don't see enough traction there on the order of 3,000 engineers."

"Eric Brandt, Broadcom's chief financial officer, said the cellular baseband business revenue run rate for the first half of 2014 is between $200 million and $250 million, with gross margins of just tens of millions of dollars."

vickistorm
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Re: Modem doom
vickistorm   6/3/2014 5:35:04 PM
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I disagree. The sale of Hisilicon & Spreadtrum can't reach this amount at all. However, they still can survive. BTW Hisilicon's GSM/TDSCDMA/WCDMA/TDLTE/FDDLTE modem(Balong) is doing good.

DaisyCSage
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Re: Modem doom
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prashanth.bhushan
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Re: Modem doom
prashanth.bhushan   6/3/2014 6:45:10 PM
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No its not about patience but its about comign to terms with reality finally. Better late than never. This was expected I guess - after TI, NXP, STE, ADI, Freescale etc ( a long list).

The bigger question now is who would buy - very high chance that it will be Apple. for various reasons.
  • Right fit for their vertical integration, gives them the technology & all the patents.
  • Access to one of the best patent pool ( Brdcom, Renesas & Nokia ) . This will also help them take on Microsoft
  • Reduce their dependency on Qualcomm

I expect Qualcomm's stock to take a beating if this happens. l :-). Remember that Samsung is now completely vertically integrated including their own multimode-modem.

Views & thoughts are welcome.

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