Comparing the TI Cable modem acquisition to the wireless Infineon acquisition is apples and oranges, as is looking to the past as some indicator of success going forward. Cable modem business is a requirement for Intel's cable box chip set aspirations and is part of Digital Home group. Infineon is going to be a separate subsidiary, leveraging Intel’s advanced foundry and low power processes to compete more effectively with Samsung. Cable modems are an integration piece with strategic sockets and Infineon is a new business venture that Intel can't build for themselves. Totally different. Further, Intel has failed at other things because when push comes to shove historically margins on PC processors always trumped everything else, so other businesses would die out of neglect and lack of resources. Margins for PCs are falling, growth is slowing and Samsung is breathing down their neck, so Intel needs to get serious about other businesses. Further, handheld devices with cloud computing are PC replacement technology and the writing is on the wall if Intel doesn’t aggressively pursue the market.
When looking at the history I don't think many people have a positive opinion regarding this acquisition. Intel should run the Infineon WLS business without many changes. But slowly they can develop a strategy to integrate the wireless base band technologies into their motherboards as Kundojjala of strategy analytic said. It is a long way to go and I believe Intel doesn't waste this great company like what it did before.
Coming to point mentioned by Sarvanan it will be fun to see what strategy Intel drives with it's huge exp and partnership now with Nokia and Microsoft to equip chinese/taiwanese vendor to provide one platform through which they can build Smart phone/PDA/MID/Netbook whatver you call supporting 2 operating systems Windows or MeeGo and what Infineon gives them is wireless platfrom (Modem + RF + Power Management + decent connectivity solution) and good chinese customers to kill margins of Apple and Real OEM.
Are we sure that the purchase includes the ARM license? Infineon bought the license only recently particularly to use trustzone for security on credit cards etc. I would be surprised if they were relinquishing this so quickly after an apparently firm strategic agreement. Also, Intel, having recently sold xScale are hardly likely to buy the same thing back at a higher price when they are so confident of beating it in the market place within the next few years.
Seems to me that Intel had this same pattern of buy, buy, buy at the end of 1990's under Barrett's leadership. When the economy tanked circa 2001 continuing on to approximately 2004, Intel sold of several of these firms (when Otellini to the helm) due to lack luster performance. Could this be a run up to repeating history? Of course, Intel was also plagued by a very bad business decision to push the Itanic (sic) while at the same time falling dangerously behind AMD's roll out of the x64. It will be interesting to see if the buy-and-expand-product line strategy works this time for Intel.