Cellular chip maker Qualcomm is buying WiFi chipmaker Atheros for $3.1 billion, or $45 per share, the companies announced today. The deal, the largest ever for Qualcomm, is expected to close sometime in the first half of the year. T
Atheros, a WiFi innovator, has a growing presence in Asia and Europe. Wi-Fi and Bluetooth have become standard features in portable consumer devices, including tablets, handheld games and media players, and Qualcomm now can utilize that strength.
Microsoft is expected to port Windows over to ARM-based chips, due to the competition Windows faces from Apple and Android-based devices. Microsoft signed an expanded licensing agreement last year with ARM. Qualcomm’s Snapdragon processor, based on ARM architecture, is used in smartphones, tablets, and smartbook devices.
Qualcomm and Verizon Wireless today announced that Qualcomm’s Snapdragon MSM8655 processor as well as Qualcomm’s MDM9600 LTE modem chipset. They will be used in a variety of new LTE devices that use the Verizon Wireless 4G LTE network.
Earlier this year the company teamed with Wilocity to make WiGig-WiFi chips, and has been exploring ways to combine WiFi with powerline systems.
As Paul Jacobs, chief executive of Qualcomm explained; “Consumers are demanding more and more wireless data, more and more capabilities out of their network and out of their devices. Now we’re just looking at huge numbers — projections are for almost 900 million smartphones to be shipped in 2014, 2.5 billion smartphones shipped between 2011 and 2014.”