A spokesperson from Intel has emailed me to say: "I can confirm for you that Intel acquired certain assets of Fujitsu's U.S. RF group to expand our mobile capabilities. The transaction closed in July."
I think it may be a stretch to conclude from this that the acquisition of Infineon's wireless chip unit was a bust. Chip companies are always looking to bolster their capabilities when they can. If Strauss is right that this unit's mobile communications transceiver and design team is probably the best standalone RF team in the world, perhaps Intel just wanted to grab the talent.
The key point may be the x86 integration. Most ARM implementations these days integrate DSP coprocessor capability. Intel may be looking for something to tie together with an x86 core to compete more effectively in the mobile space.
Intel had bought Infineon's division called Comneon about three years back. This division was primarily doing software for wireless modems (GSM and UMTS). Intel also bought a company in Egypt, and a company in Germany that was working on LTE. This was together called Intel Mobile Communications. Intel acquired about 200 people from Motorola last year. My guess is, as Fujitsu Wireless lineage goes back to Motorola, someone from the newly acquired people suggested this purchase to speed up the product.
There is a standard called DigRF, which defines the interface between processors and transceivers. Intel could have been using Infineon's transceivers till now (Infineon still has this division with itself). Intel may be wanting to start using its own set of transceivers after this purchase.
With so many acquisitions, how is Intel going to manage putting all the bits and pieces together? Its not a plug and play world. I am guessing they will now need some more engineers on the baseband side to interface with the new chips from Fujitsu. RF customisations take a hell lot of resources.
It is a tough life for Intel Management. First, they failed to see the growth of smartphones and tablets. Then, they failed to make a decent power efficient processor for the non-desktop products. Intel is in the processor business, they want to sell more processors. Unfortunately, this isn't happening. No company will replace ARM processors with Intel's in their products. So, Intel has to do it on its own. Thats why this shopping spree, it better not be chaotic. Someone at Intel needs to efficiently manage the two verticals now, one is the high end LTE A chipset (Fujitsu + Motorola acquisition), and other one being the low end Comneon + others that work on gsm-umts-lte. There is still no Intel product with LTE in Market (Samsung's Galaxy tab 3 with Intel LTE may just be a prior committment to Intel or just to test waters for a non Qualcomm based modem).
Intel also needs to demonstrate a really good processor for smartphones, without faked benchmarks.
@mcgrathdylan -- because having the best RF wireless modem in the world isn't going to sell unless as a minimum you've also got a competitive baseband DSP and the software stack to go with it, and preferably also a competitive application processor.
Motorola (and then Freescale) didn't have these, then Fujitsu didn't, now maybe Intel will ;-)
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