18/07/2012

Samsung gets serious with mobile chips

Samsung is buying the mobile chipset division of Cambridge Silicon Radio (CSR) for $310m. This will add Wi-Fi, GPS and Bluetooth chipsets to Samsung's already hefty portfolio as well as 310 employees and the IP. CSR was formed in 1998 and went public in 2004 and was one of the 'blue eyed' technology companies that was ahead of its time and it dominated the world of Bluetooth followed by GPS and WiFi. Unfortunately in recent times its mobile chipsets haven't been doing so well due to lacklustre sales from partners Nokia and RIM and revenues have fallen by 50% over the last 2 years. Samsung get a "worldwide, perpetual, royalty-free, non-exclusive license of CSR's intellectual property rights used in its handset connectivity and location products" which means less royalty payments for them while other handset manufacturers will now have to pay Samsung. Samsung will also get a stronger hold over Apple as they already manufacture the A4 and A5 chipsets, provide some of the retina displays and now own the CSR components used by Apple too. The combined GPS/WiFi/Bluetooth/FM combined chipset market is dominated by Broadcom who control 51% of the market, followed by Texas Instruments (31%), now Samsung play take a bigger role in this $3bn market. Samsung have also taken a 4.9% in the remaining part of CSR.
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