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Intel Businesses Cellphones Communications The Almighty Buck Hardware

Intel To Buy Smartphone Chipmaker Infineon For $2B 95

Posted by timothy
from the whatta-boggin dept.
sylverboss writes "Intel Corp., the world's largest chipmaker, is close to an agreement to buy Infineon Technologies AG's wireless business, three people with direct knowledge of the discussions said. When it comes to desktop, laptop and server chips, Intel's pretty much got a lock on the market but everyone can see the writing on the wall: mobile chips and architectures are the future of computing thanks to the popularity of smartphones, but Intel doesn't have anything to offer in that regard. Don't know Infineon? You should: they are the guys who have supplied Apple with their iPhone baseband chips since 2007."
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Intel To Buy Smartphone Chipmaker Infineon For $2B

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  • Infineon? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 29, 2010 @03:50PM (#33410600)

    "they are the guys who have supplied Apple with their iPhone baseband chips since 2007."

    Does that really mean they're important, though?

  • Re:Infineon? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by WrongSizeGlass (838941) on Sunday August 29, 2010 @04:10PM (#33410690)
    I think it means two things:
    1) They are a big enough player that they can supply Apple with key components for a widely distributed product.
    2) If they sell to Apple they probably sell something to other large handset makers.
  • Re:Atom? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by zzatz (965857) on Sunday August 29, 2010 @04:15PM (#33410716)

    Atoms are low power only compared to Intel's other x86 chips. Compared to typical controllers for portable devices, they use too much power.

  • Re:Infineon? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by forkazoo (138186) <wrosecrans AT gmail DOT com> on Sunday August 29, 2010 @04:17PM (#33410730) Homepage

    "they are the guys who have supplied Apple with their iPhone baseband chips since 2007."

    Does that really mean they're important, though?

    Not in isolation, no. It is, OTOH, an example of a very high profile contract, which suggests that they are sufficiently stable in the rest of their business that Apple would be willing to trust doing business with them, without having to fear them suddenly going bankrupt and cutting off supply of a key part. Given that the company is important enough that it would be impossible to list every example of a device that uses an Infineon chip in tfS, the iPhone was probably the most effective example to use.

  • by Grishnakh (216268) on Sunday August 29, 2010 @06:24PM (#33411296)

    IP isn't the only factor when it comes to chips. It's not like you can just email some zipped-up files off to a fab and get chips back in a few weeks (like you usually can with PCBs); there's a lot more to it than that. So even if you have all the IP, masks, etc., there's still a significant and costly ramp-up time at whatever fab you choose to supply you with the chips.

  • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Sunday August 29, 2010 @06:53PM (#33411426)

    I'm not saying it was a good design over all, I'm saying that when it hit the market with the P4s, it was the fastest thing out there. Its desktop performance was unmatched. It just cost a lot and didn't scale.

    High latency isn't necessarily a problem, good caching can get around a lot of that, and of course increasing the speed means that the cycles of latency matters less.

    Now in hindsight, RDRAM was a bad decision on Intel's part but it was understandable. It was also understandable in terms of their CPU design. AS you hinted at, Netburst was similar. The idea was that it was not as efficient per clock, they said that right up front, but that it would scale to tremendous speeds. Lab testing on individual ALUs showed that 10GHz ought to be doable. Of course that didn't work out, Netburst didn't scale well and they redesigned things.

    Regardless, I understand why Intel did the RDRAM thing. It looked promising, and they got a bunch of money to do it. It didn't work out, so they switched.

  • Re:curves? trends? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by RightSaidFred99 (874576) on Sunday August 29, 2010 @11:53PM (#33412496)
    Right. History is littered with dimwits who thought x86 wouldn't impact _their_ market.
  • by mikrorechner (621077) on Monday August 30, 2010 @02:15AM (#33412936)
    The IP of the baseband chips Infineon makes (GSM, 3G radio) most definitely does not belong to Apple.

    Infineon also sells the same chips to Samsung and Nokia. As one of the parents wrote, Apple may be their highest profile customer, but it certainly isn't their biggest.

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