Intel Buys Wireless Patents From Interdigital for $375 Million

Intel on Monday spent US$375 million to buy around 1,700 wireless networking patents from subsidiaries of digital communications company Interdigital.

Intel will get patents that cover a range of 3G, LTE and Wi-Fi technologies from Interdigital. The patents should boost Intel's product mobile product portfolio as the company establishes a presence in the smartphone and tablet markets, which is currently ruled by ARM.

Intel has said it will integrate 3G and 4G LTE capabilities along with its Atom microprocessor in devices like smartphones and tablets. Intel made its first entry into the smartphone market earlier this year with its Atom chip code-named Medfield, which is being used in handsets from Lenovo, Orange and Lava International.

Intel later this year will release a dual-core Atom Z2580 processor with 3G, 4G and LTE capabilities. Intel's upcoming Atom chip for tablets, code-named Clover Trail, will also come with mobile broadband options.

Intel started building its wireless business following the acquisition of Infineon Wireless for $1.4 billion, which was completed last year.

Wireless is a fast-changing market, and the company is making this investment to support the business, according to Chuck Mulloy, an Intel spokesman.

"This was an opportunity to add some value to our patent portfolio. That's over and above what we have," Mulloy said.

Intel this year has been acquiring select pieces of intellectual property to fill product gaps as an alternative to buying out companies. Intel earlier this year bought InfiniBand assets from Qlogic for $125 million, and bought high-performance interconnect assets from Cray for $140 million.

The Intel-Interdigital transaction is expected to completed in third quarter 2012. The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions.

Agam Shah covers PCs, tablets, servers, chips and semiconductors for IDG News Service. Follow Agam on Twitter at @agamsh. Agam's e-mail address is agam_shah@idg.com

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