RealTime IT News

Broadcom Buys Bluetooth Chip Maker

Broadband circuit integrator Broadcom Corp. Tuesday acquired Innovent Systems Inc., a radio frequency pioneer of short-range wireless data communications, for $440 million.

The purchase places Innovent's fully integrated digital RF transceiver semiconductor technology in Broadcom's wireless product portfolio.

Innovent's innovative use of Bluetooth technology may be the new standard of integrated wireless communications. The purchase solidifies Broadcom's leadership in the high-speed wireless arena, specifically the short-range market segment.

Cell phone companies LM Ericsson Telephone Co. and Nokia Corp. in Europe, as well as Intel Corp. and International Business Machines Corp. in the U.S have driven the acceptance of the Bluetooth standard in mobile communications devices.

Innovent's patent-pending implementation of RF technology in a digital CMOS integrated circuit process provides significant cost and manufacturing advantages for short-range wireless products. Manufacturer's can tap into the integration technology for as little as $5 a chip.

Bluetooth wireless technology provides a low-cost means for communication and networking between mobile phones and other portable devices, as long as line-of-sight is not an issue.

With the purchase Broadcom is free to develop product lines that combine RF, baseband, systems and software services that target Bluetooth applications running on Personal Area Networks and wireless Local Area Networks.

Dr. Henry T. Nicholas III, Broadcom president and chief executive officer said the Innovent acquisition demonstrated its intent to be a formidable competitor in wireless markets worldwide.

"Integrating Innovent's capabilities in CMOS RF and Bluetooth with our expertise in mixed-signal, home networking, high speed networking and broadband communications technologies provides Broadcom with a powerful platform to address the rapidly growing wireless marketplace," Nicholas said.

Broadcom has supported the California-based business through it seed investment stage and has had close ties with the company from Innovent's inception in 1999. Prior to the acquisition, Broadcom already owned approximately 13 percent of Innovent.

Dr. Henry Samueli, Broadcom co-founder and chief technical officer, said the long-term academic and working relationship between it and Innovent's co-founders enhances the synergy of the business deal.

"From our shared research roots at UCLA to a strategic investment partnership and now a merger of our businesses and top engineering talent, we believe the combined teams of both companies will continue to offer groundbreaking technology to an exploding marketplace in both wired and wireless communications," Samueli said.

In addition to securing access to Innovent's core technology, the purchase also provides Broadcom with a talented group of engineers, experts in the use of the chipset and wireless electronic device designs.

While PANs are relatively new system set-ups, the technology that allows users to transfer information across multiple devices is rooted in wireless LANs.

Dr. William T. Colleran, Innovent president and chief executive officer, said the combination of the two companies make for a formidable force in wireless communications.

"The combination of Innovent's extensive experience in CMOS RF chip development and Broadcom's business and technical strengths in broadband communications w