Intel Buys Infineon Wireless Unit for $1.4B

By Jessica Davis  |  Print this article Print

Intel's purchase of chip maker Infineon's wireless business gives Intel more muscle in the mobile space including smartphones, laptops and embedded devices, as well as its own ARM-based solutions.

Intel strengthened its mobile and embedded technology portfolio, announcing it will buy Infineon Technologies' Wireless Solutions business for $1.4 billion. The deal gives Intel more of what it needs to play in what Intel calls the connected computing space that includes smartphones, laptops and embedded computing.

Most industry-watchers agree that mobility is the key for technology vendors in the future, as more smartphones are sold than PCs.

"The global demand for wireless solutions continues to grow at an extraordinary rate," said Paul Otellini, Intel president and CEO, in a prepared statement. "The acquisition of Infineon's WLS business strengthens the second pillar of our computing strategy—Internet connectivity—and enables us to offer a portfolio of products that covers the full range of wireless options from WiFi and 3G to WiMax and LTE. As more devices compute and connect to the Internet, we are committed to positioning Intel to take advantage of the growth potential in every computing segment, from laptops to handhelds and beyond."

Intel's purchase follows the chip giant's announcement earlier this month of plans to acquire software security vendor McAfee, fueling speculation that Intel plans to bring security into the silicon and use it to provide what's missing in many smartphones and embedded devices: rock-solid security.

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Infineon said the sale of the WLS business unit to Intel will help Infineon fully focus on its core segments of automotive, industrial and multimarket, and chip card and security.

Intel said WLS will be operated as a stand-alone business to ensure continuity of existing customer sales, projects and support. That includes ARM-based products as well as Intel-based application processor platforms with leading-edge 3G slim modem solutions, Intel said. Intel has frequently competed and often lost to ARM-based solutions in the handset marketplace.

Intel said its goal with the WLS acquisition is to expand its mobile and embedded product offerings to support additional customers and market segments, including smartphones, tablets, netbooks, notebooks and embedded computing devices.

"Through this effort, Intel will pair WLS' best-in-class cellular technology with its core strengths to enable the delivery of low-power, Intel-based platforms that combine its applications processor with an expanded portfolio of wireless options—bringing together Intel's leadership in WiFi and WiMax with WLS' leadership in 2G and 3G, and a combined path to accelerate 4G LTE," Intel said in a statement.

Jessica Davis covers the channel for eWeek and Channel Insider. Her technology journalism career began well before anyone heard of the World Wide Web and has included stints at Infoworld, Electronic News/EDN, and the Philadelphia Business Journal. Her work has also appeared on CNN and Forbes.com. She has covered hardware, software and networking, as well as the business side of technology. She has won several journalism awards, including a national ASBPE award for best staff-written column, and was named Marketing Computers hardest working tech journalist on their inaugural list of top tech journalists. Jessica can be reached at jessica.davis@ziffdavisenterprise.com