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Fujitsu says SAYONARA to smartphone chip JV

Splits with NEC, NTT on attempt to take on Qualcomm

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Fujitsu has decided to end its aspirations to be a smartphone semiconductor player after dissolving a joint venture with NEC and NTT just 18 months after its launch.

Access Network Technology Limited was established by Fujitsu in August 2012, with the firm taking a majority 52.8 per cent stake.

Its Fujitsu Semiconductor business held 9.5 per cent, while mobile operator NTT Docomo took 19.9 per cent and ailing NEC 17.8 per cent.

In a brief statement sent to The Reg from Fujitsu’s Tokyo HQ, the firm briefly “explained” the reason for its decision:

In the face of fierce competition in the global smartphone market, the company wasn’t able to obtain a large enough market share.

It’s unclear exactly what happened in the past 18 months that significantly stacked the market against the JV. Even back then it faced an uphill struggle against the likes of Qualcomm, which shipped around half of the world’s smartphone chips.

The idea was that the firm would build “semiconductor products with built-in modem functions” for use in Fujitsu, Docomo and NEC phones but also to sell to third parties.

It’s possible that demand for either channel did not pan out as expected.

It can’t have helped matters that NEC announced at the end of July last year it would be closing its ailing smartphone business.

The once-proud tech giant said it would continue to manufacture and sell existing models but will focus on “conventional mobile phone handsets” and tablets in the future.

Two firms which will breathing a sigh of relief today are Samsung and Panasonic. Both were in talks with Fujitsu, NEC and NTT over a possible JV to build LTE chips, prior to the formation of Access Network Technology. ®

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