Intel is known for being…well, Intel. They have been making processors and the like for as long as anyone cares to remember and while they may be the current reigning champ in the desktop PC processors wars, the same cannot be said about the oh-so-popular “gadget” market. Intel is a house built on the foundation of x86 architecture and this has served them well for years, but with the boom of the mobile market (be it iPad, iPhone, etc) Intel’s reliance upon x86 architecture leaves them high and dry. ARM processors dominate the mobile market due in no small part to their power efficient nature and faster performance in the requisite smaller mobile package. The rub here is that Intel currently doesn’t have any ARM products to offer, relegating them to role of mere spectator instead of quarterback in the biggest game of the year.
Enter German-based chip-maker Infineon. Infineon does have solid mobile solutions as evidenced by it’s products appearances in the latest and greatest gadgets from the likes of Samsung, Nokia and even Apple, to name a few. One merely has to look at Apple’s sales numbers to realize scoring a slot of PCB real estate in one of their products is no doubt the design-win of the year for any chip-making company…and Infineon has scored two slots. Infineon provides both the Transceiver as well as the Baseband Processor for Apple's iPhone 4.
Current rumors are pointing to a deal between Intel and Infineon. While early reports around the web pointed to an acquisition of Infineon by Intel, a recent report on Reuters points to a more selective sale of Infineon’s Wireless Business Unit stating:
“Negotiations between Infineon (IFXGn.DE) and U.S. chipmaker Intel Corp (INTC.O) over the sale of the German chipmaker's wireless business have reached an advanced stage, several people familiar with the matter said.”
This deal would solidly put Intel into some of the hottest devices on the market, pulling them off the sidelines and into the fray of the mobile market, a market Intel desperately wants a piece of. The deal looks to be an easy decision for Intel but ultimately the decision to sell belongs to Infineon.
Neither party would openly confirm the possibility of the deal, Intel declined to comment while Infineon Chief Executive Peter Bauer only said “We are very happy with the wireless business.” That being said Infineon “mandated J.P. Morgan to sound out options for the unit, the sources said, adding the business is valued at around 1 billion euros.”
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