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Europe waves through Qualcomm's NXP slurp

Chip-maker promises to play nice with others to secure deal

By Richard Chirgwin

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Qualcomm's NXP Semiconductor has been cleared by European Commission regulators, which makes it pretty much a done deal.

Last Thursday, the Commission (EC) said subject to the commitments it's already made, Qualcomm's US$47 billion acquisition can go ahead.

The Commission's concerns related to third-parties' access to NXP Semiconductor's technology after the takeover closed, and last October Qualcomm offered its concessions to the EC.

First on the Commission's list of concerns was licensing of NXP's MIFARE contactless card technology. Qualcomm has told the EC it will continue to offer licenses to the technology and trademarks on terms “at least as advantageous as those available today” for eight years.

The EC was also concerned about product interoperability, and again, Qualcomm says for eight years it will maintain interop between its products and competitors' (this covers Qualcomm baseband chips, and NXP's NFC and SE chipsets).

NXP's standards-essential NFC patents are excluded from the deal (and a few unspecified NFC patents that aren't standards-essential), and will be transferred to a third party.

Qualcomm has committed to grant worldwide royalty-free licenses to NXP patents, and has also promised not to enforce those patents.

With this acquisition all-but-settled, Qualcomm can now get back to fending off Broadcom's unsolicited acquisition attempt. ®

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