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Date: 07-08-15

Qualcomm acquires broadband networking chipmaker Ikanos to target smarthome

After agreeing to acquire short-range wireless chip maker CSR, Qualcomm goes for broadband chip maker Ikanos Communications. Qualcomm Atheros, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Qualcomm to acquire all of the issued and outstanding shares of common stock of Ikanos for $2.75 per share in cash.

There are signs of smart-phone chip market following some of the growth-and-fall pattern of PC chip market. First time there is a slow down in smart phone IC market growth and the results can be seen in the latest revenue reporting and outlook from Qualcomm, Mediatek other smart phone SoC vendors.

From the vertical single domain focus to multi-domain expansion is becoming essential for big semiconductor companies into the areas of strategic importance. If you see the latest acquisitions in the semiconductor industry, Intel has entered into the area of FPGA by agreeing to acquire Altera, Avago stepping into personal wireless communication area by agreeing to acquire Broadcom.

Another interesting aspect of this Qualcomm acquiring Ikanos, is how the semiconductor companies strengthening capabilities in smart home market. In smart home it's all about communication which includes wired, short range wireless, and the broadband. Communication semiconductor companies now targeting the two important areas; automotive and smart home. In fact most of the technologies can be reused in these two areas. The car is like a moving smart home, otherwise call it a partition of your home which is mobile.

So the target for volume dependent semiconductor companies is very clear: it is the electronics at home, electronics inside the car, and the personal electronics such as notebook, smart phone and wearable. IOT is common factor tech which is just going to be everywhere and in everything. It's no more the bill of physical material, it is bill of IP, which gives confidence to semiconductor companies in the nex-gen wave of market opportunities.

Somewhat visible trend recently is, the future market looks to be friendly towards broad-based companies such as Texas Instruments, STMicroelectronics, NXP, Freescale Semiconductor and Renesas, or any such companies with broader strength of digital, analog, power semiconductor and wireless. The revenue in 2Q 2015 by top 10 semiconductor companies hints little about this trend.

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