Price says the acquisition targets an entire product line of technology. “Where we’re going with that is everything from the datacenter to the phone must be a very intelligent architecture.”
Asked why Intel targeted Mindspeed specifically, Schooler pointed to its very “prominent” position in the small-cell market. “It has generations of products that have already been taken to market. They have competency in both silicon and software that we think will be very valuable to continuing our strategy of building out our portfolio across all network markets.”
Price said Mindspeed has a very good technology in the small-cell market, which, coupled with Intel technology, can span from the core of the network all the way back to the handset.
Schooler called Mindspeed’s wireless division a tremendous opportunity for growth. “One of the key gaps we wanted to close was in the area of wireless access, and that’s what this acquisition allows us to do.”
Schooler was frank that, so far, Intel has a “negligible share” of the overall wireless access market.
The acquisition is as much a result of Mindspeed’s motivation to sell itself as Intel’s motivation to acquire part of Mindspeed, said Will Strauss, principal of market watcher Forward Concepts of Mesa, Ariz. Mindspeed "had quite frankly better fortunes in the wired market than in the wireless market,” Strauss said.
Mindspeed is a market leader in picocells and femtocells, but it probably wasn’t profitable in either market, he said. It was headed into macro-cell and basestation chips but had not launched products.
“Mindspeed has been in the picocell or the small-cell basestation business, but they have not been in the [mainstream] cellphone base stations that AT&T or Verizon would buy,” Strauss told us. ”Admittedly their aim was to get there, but it probably required more financial muscle than Mindspeed had to do it.”