Qualcomm, the wireless chip company in San Diego, announced today it will acquire Palo Alto’s Airgo Networks, a hot WLAN technology provider for an undisclosed amount. VentureBeat had contacted Airgo about rumors of the acquisition last week, but had never heard back.
In a statement, Qualcomm said it has also acquired the majority of North Carolina-based RF Micro Devices’ (RFMD’s) bluetooth assets.
The Airgo acquisition is significant because the company has boasted its new chip, unveiled in September, will make wireless networks four times faster than current WiFi wireless Internet setups.
According to the Mercury News:
That speed will make it possible to ship movies from one room in the house to another and to set up other home media options. Airgo’s chips will boost wireless speed so much that, for the first time, a home wireless network would be faster than a typical wired home setup. That means it could save consumers from the chore of stringing together computers and other gadgets with a mess of wires.
Qualcomm quoted analysts in its statement saying the two areas of WLAN and bluetooth have reached their “tipping point”:
“As the attach rate for Bluetooth and WLAN features in mobile handsets is poised to grow past the critical tipping point, these acquisitions become very timely,” said Chris Ambrosio, director of wireless device strategies for Strategy Analytics. “With QUALCOMM now having the technologies of Airgo and RFMD’s Bluetooth business in-house, manufacturers will have access to more integrated solutions • chipsets that deliver expanded, seamless connectivity with enhanced performance and space savings.”
Palo Alto, Calif.-based Airgo possesses intellectual property assets and resources in WLAN technology and has provided WLAN products to both manufacturers of access points and laptop computers. In addition to supporting Airgo’s existing business, QUALCOMM will be integrating their 802.11a/b/g and 802.11n technology into select Mobile Station Modemâ„¢ (MSMâ„¢) chipsets. The Company will also use this technology for chipsets on the new Snapdragonâ„¢ platform, which is designed to offer ubiquitous mobile broadband connectivity.
However, VentureBeat is uncertain whether investors made any money from Airgo. Airgo raised lots of venture capital, about $130 million from folks like Accel Partners, BlueRun Ventures, Oak Investment and Sevin Rosen Funds. Does anyone know whether they made money?