>> That has led me to think that Microchip is really serious about winning in Bluetooth and IoT.
Yes, I agree. Microsoft was the first microcontroller vendor that took Android embedded seriously and provided a way for hardware developers using their technologies to build within the Android mobile operating system ecosystem. All that means IoT and BT (the mobile roadmap). That Microchip needs to make lots of efforts shows how competitive this industy is as the PIC family series is a clear industry leader.
>> Several smartphone, headphone, and receiver manufacturers have licensed it, but I've always felt that it was under-marketed.
I think it is the typical UK thing. They create great technlogies but never make real money as they do not seem aggressive as their counterparts across the Atlantic. Think of ARM which earns peanuts while empowering other companies in their business model.
>> Not only is Mircochip pursing an IOT strategy here but they are using their foreign held cash and it gives them the opportunity to do an inversion.
That is the driver behind this acqusition. When you have so much money outside America, you need to put it to good use. Some have moved to VC funds thereby seeding startups in related areas. But that is not given. The best strategy is to buy what is already working just as they are pursuing CSR.
@tb 100, good point. Actually, Microchip also has Kleer, proprietary high-quality wireless audio technology, which Microchip got through the acquisition of SMSC. It would be interesting to see how those two wireless audio technologies will play out, if Microchip indeed acquires CSR.
Seems like Microchip is having hard time to get onboard Wireless world. Originally they bet on 802.15.4(Zigbee), marketed under brand name "MiFi". I'm not sure how good their business was, but I feel it did not make big time - compare to Digi's XBee. Then, they had aquired a low-power/low-cost WiFi chip vendor Zero-G wireless back in 2010. After the aquisition I haven't heard former Zero-G WiFi solution so much - compare to GainSpan or RedPine. Then - they target on Bluetooth giant CSR? Does i-beacon / BTLE market seems more promising than 802.15.4 MiWi or low-power WiFi? The grass next door looks always greener...
CSR (formerly Cambridge Silicon Radio) has aptx, a technology that allows high definition, low latency sound to be sent over Bluetooth, with better fidelity than the standard Bluetooth encoding. Several smartphone, headphone, and receiver manufacturers have licensed it, but I've always felt that it was under-marketed. Most people you talk to have never even heard of it.