While some chip makers are selling their business, like Broadcom, others are making expensive purchases, like Intel did. They acquired Altera, paying $16.7 billion for them and now there’s talk of a new merger, one of gigantic proportions.
Analysts are discussing the potential of a merger between Qualcomm and Intel, or at least Qualcomm’s modem chip segment and Intel. Over the past years Intel has been a dominant force in notebooks and PCs, in spite of AMD’s occasional overclock-fueled victory. They haven’t exactly succeeded to make a strong mark on smartphones, while on tablets they have a respectable amount of devices powered by their chips.
Still, the likes of Qualcomm and MediaTek are really eating into Intel’s mobile profits. Qualcomm in the meantime is a dominant force in the smartphone market and it would be solid gold for Intel, meaning their total domination of the handset market. Intel could bind its WiFi Group with the Qualcomm Atheros lineup and also embed some Qualcomm LTE products.
Bringing x86 and ARM technology under one roof is tricky, but it would certainly destabilize competition. AMD and MediaTek will be hit the worst here and I’m sure the Chinese authorities will react with a new antitrust investigation. Samsung and TSMC will probably not like this, either.