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Qualcomm eats AMD handheld biz

$65 million munch

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Qualcomm today purchased $65m worth of intellectual property and other assets from AMD, as AMD finished divesting itself of its handheld and DTV businesses.

Last October, AMD completed the sale of its DTV business to Broadcom. And today, the other shoe dropped when it announced the sale of handheld assets to Qualcomm.

In a joint statement, Qualcomm and AMD said that the acquisition of "certain graphics and multimedia technology assets, intellectual property and resources that were formerly the basis of AMD's handheld business" will strengthen Qualcomm's "leadership position in delivering more advanced products that redefine next-generation mobile user experiences."

Some of the technology intended to redefine those experiences won't be new to Qualcomm, however. According to Steve Mollenkopf, Qualcomm EVP, the acquired assets include "graphics cores that we have been licensing for several years."

The deal includes Quallcomm offering jobs to personnel from AMD's graphics group, who may very well be relieved to be exiting a company that recently announced further job cuts and wage reductions.

AMD's triple-threat COO, CAO, and CFO Robert Rivet had kind words for the now-departing engineers, saying "We believe the talented AMD Handheld employees will be a great asset to Qualcomm."

The former AMD engineers, according to the joint statement, will now focus on "developing technologies to enhance mobile devices in areas including 2D and 3D graphics, audio/video, display, and architecture" for Qualcomm's system-on-chip (SoC) products.

According to AMD spokesperson Jo Albers, the Qualcomm acquisition does not include AMD's Imageon brand and product line, as can be inferred from some other articles about the deal.

Albers said that AMD will continue to service its customers who use Imageon media-processing chips, such as the M180 Media Processor used in last year's LG KC550 mobile phone and media player.

The sale of assets from its handheld division, coupled with yesterday's announcement that the company's upcoming dual-core Neo chip and Congo platform will be aimed above the fast-growing netbook space, suggest that AMD is content to leave the bulk of consumer electronics-level chippery to Intel, VIA, Imagination Technology, and others.

Interesting - considering that's where the bulk of the market growth has been recently. ®

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

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