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Rumor: Broadcom Phasing Out Wi-Fi Chip Business (digitimes.com) 65

jones_supa writes: According to sources in Taiwan at the heart of the electronics industry, Broadcom is looking to phase out its Wi-Fi chip business in a move to streamline its workforce and product offerings following its acquisition by Avago Technologies. In general, the Wi-Fi chip business yields relatively low gross margins compared to other product lines due to fierce price competition in the market for mass-market applications (such as notebooks, tablets, TVs and smartphones). Companies such as MediaTek, Realtek Semiconductor and RDA Microelectronics have already received a pull-in of short lead-time orders from Broadcom's customers in the Wi-Fi sector. Following its merger with Avago, Broadcom is expected to allocate more RD resources to solutions in the fiber-optic and server sectors. In addition, Broadcom has almost halved the workforce stationed at its office in Taipei.
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Rumor: Broadcom Phasing Out Wi-Fi Chip Business

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  • Yay! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by klingens ( 147173 ) on Saturday March 19, 2016 @06:38PM (#51733923)

    Let's hope this rumour is right. One less shitty vendor with shitty WLAN chips. Then Apple and Dell have to look elswhere to fsck over their customers with crappy hardware without working (Linux) drivers.

    • Re:Yay! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Carewolf ( 581105 ) on Saturday March 19, 2016 @07:05PM (#51734069) Homepage

      Let's hope this rumour is right. One less shitty vendor with shitty WLAN chips. Then Apple and Dell have to look elswhere to fsck over their customers with crappy hardware without working (Linux) drivers.

      Be careful what you wish for. Broadcom is not the worst offender anymore.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Exactly. I am surprised the rejoicing was not louder. Many good routers start using other SoC packages and "save BOM cost" by switching to Broadcom WiFi. Then suddenly folks are getting the devices and are unable to load working Open Source firmware.

      I will not miss Broadcom at all.

      • Re: Yay! (Score:4, Insightful)

        by the_humeister ( 922869 ) on Saturday March 19, 2016 @07:23PM (#51734157)

        The strangest thing: Raspberry Pi uses a Broadcom SoC for all 3 versions, and everything is open source. When I heard they were going to use Broadcom for their device and have open source drivers for everything, needless to say, I was skeptical. And yet they delivered, even with the GPU.

        • Re: Yay! (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 19, 2016 @09:24PM (#51734605)

          That is not true, some guy rewrote everything from scratch and Broadcom hired him. Broadcom only released the specs.

          Basically broadcom didn't have the ability to release the open source code before (who knows why but it is probably not good). Aswell they didn't have the trust or ability (we don't know which) to hire someone to rewrite them.

          Some guy took his own time, started rewriting the thing and showed that it was possible... then they bought him up and we don't really know what that means because he could be missing parts.

          Here's a talk by the guy - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EXDeketJNdk

      • Re:Yay! (Score:5, Informative)

        by r1348 ( 2567295 ) on Saturday March 19, 2016 @07:31PM (#51734189)

        Well, I did rejoice when they announced their brcmfmac ans brcmsmac drivers, except that the latter was then basically abandoned, with new hardware support never being added apart from the limited initial offering, and that's the driver supposed to cover their laptop chips!
        So yeah, it's Intel or Atheros/Qualcomm for me right now. Realtek has general good linux support, but their chips cover only the lower end of the market. Mediatek is what was once known as Ralink, their support used to be good, I wonder how it is now. Any other current vendors I did not mention?

        • by romiz ( 757548 )
          Texas Instruments has the Wilink chip series which is very well supported in the kernel, but it's aimed at embedded devices with its SDIO interface, and does not even do 802.11ac.
          • by wallyK ( 764739 )
            TI WiFi product line is indeed directed at the Embedded and IoT market, with low power modes that chipsets designed to go into APs or laptops cannot touch. The transceiver product line goes up in functionality all the way to 802.11abgn 2X2MIMO, and with Bluetooth 4.1 / BLE. Indeed the interface choices are SDIO (4 wire, up to 50MHz) and UART (up to 4Mbits).. For the laptop crowd, used to PCIe data rates, these may seem like not a lot, but it does work fine for many use cases. TI also has a CC3x00 series, a
        • by ruir ( 2709173 )
          Realtek is really bad. Cheap chips made in a tight budget FULL of bugs, from dropping connections to stop working for seconds due to heating... http://unix.stackexchange.com/... [stackexchange.com]
    • Let's hope this rumour is right. One less shitty vendor with shitty WLAN chips. Then Apple and Dell have to look elswhere to fsck over their customers with crappy hardware without working (Linux) drivers.

      You haven't used Realtek have you?

      • by Mashiki ( 184564 )

        You haven't used Realtek have you?

        I'm guessing they haven't. Maybe someone can resurrect cyrix.

    • One of the all time WORST network chip makers in the world. I wish they would just go away all together.

      How about the crappy motherboard NICs and crappy drivers that go with it?

      They update their drivers almost on a daily basis.

      They cause more PC and server networking nightmares than I can count.

      Server acting up? Step 1 is ALWAYS update the shitty Broadcom drivers. But even that doesn't always work.

    • by prefec2 ( 875483 )

      I am not so sure that less competition will result in better drivers and better support in general. Especially, as MediaTek is known for its "quality" products and support in mobile devices.

    • If Broadcom WiFi chipsets and their other consumer product lines are going away, it's really bad news for several key Maker community and OSS platforms. And decent alternatives are dropping off as well. Now, Broadcom was famous for being nearly impossible to work with, for smaller companies - no documentation, no support, no parts availability. And this was by design, that they would only work with 'tier one' customers. Raspberry Pi happened because it was developed by Broadcom folks in UK in their spare ti
  • by Anonymous Coward

    I went through this with Avago's last acquisition. If there is any division within Broadcom/Avago that cannot meet 50% GM it will be cut/sold.
    Investing in the future is only done if it also has returns now. The whole idea behind Avago is to pull the money out of existing products. R&D is primarily support. For new product lines they buy the market winners and repeat the process.

    It sounds like wifi does not return enough and the money would be better used buying some other company. I expect this ac

  • A supposed news piece that starts with "rumor?" I naïvely hoped it was a piece of information about how that kind of rumor spreads, but no. Journalism is dead, at least here.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Posting anonymous because reasons. Read the play-by-play of what has happened with this acquisition here: https://www.thelayoff.com/broa... [thelayoff.com] This is what is going one as confirmed from inside. If you don't make your margins you're fucked. God speed to all of us still there....
  • Guess what happens when consumer routers stop having Broadcom chips in them...

System going down at 5 this afternoon to install scheduler bug.

Working...